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Iowa mass murderer commits suicide in prison

By Kay Henderson

DES MOINES (Reuters) - An Iowa man who killed seven people in what Sioux City police described as the worst mass murder spree in city history has hanged himself in his cell at a state prison, state corrections department officials said on Thursday.

Adam Matthew Moss, 35, was found on Wednesday evening hanging with one end of a bed sheet around his neck and the other end tied to a wall vent in his cell at a clinical care unit, the department said.

The death was being ruled a suicide, said Fred Scaletta, assistant director of the Iowa Department of Corrections. An autopsy will be performed, and it could take two or three months to get results of toxicology tests, he said.

Moss pleaded guilty to committing the seven murders and was serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole at a state prison in Fort Madison, Iowa.

He had admitted he beat his girlfriend with a hammer and slit her throat and bludgeoned her five children to death with the hammer in August 2001. He also admitted killing a 58-year-old man he had worked for.

Moss was staying in a unit that separates inmates with psychiatric issues from the general population. The sheet was pulled from his neck immediately after he was found, but he was already dead, the department statement said.

The Lee County Medical Examiner arrived and confirmed the cause of death to be asphyxia due to suffocation.

(Additional reporting by David Bailey; Editing by Carol Bishopric)