BOISE, ID - According to the Idaho Department of Corrections, a correctional officer found 59-year-old John M. Cope hanging in his cell in August 31. Cope was unresponsive and transported to a Boise hospital, where he was pronounced dead on September 6.
Cope was serving a life sentence for the 2002 killing and decapitation of Brian K. Elliot in Lewiston. Cope decapitated the shoe salesman with a knife and mutilated the severed head. Cope pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison.
Cope unsuccessfully appealed the case to the Idaho Supreme Court in 2006. The apparent suicide is still being investigated.