Latest death at Benner state prison was a suicide, coroner rules

A Benner state prison inmate found unresponsive in September died by suicide, Centre County Coroner Scott Sayers said.

Yessy Rivera, 32, was the third Benner state prison inmate to die by suicide this year — matching the prison’s number of suicides from 2013 to 2018 combined.

Rivera arrived at the prison in June and was serving a 20-40 year sentence for third-degree murder, the state Department of Corrections said. He pleaded guilty to 2017 killing of Brian Lindner in Carbon County, according to Lehigh Valley Live.

Conard Carpenter and Joseph Little died by suicide at the prison in January and February, respectively.

Derric Harsh died by strangulation at the prison in February. The Centre County coroner’s office ruled his death a homicide — the first in the prison’s six-year history. Nobody has been charged in connection with his death.

Bret Pallotto primarily reports on courts and crime for the Centre Daily Times. He grew up in Lewistown and graduated from Lock Haven University.