(CNN)Two inmates were killed at Mississippi State Penitentiary after an altercation, the state Department of Corrections and county coroner said Tuesday.
Amid concerns about violence and infrastructure, Mississippi's Parchman prison reports two more inmate deaths
Timothy Hudspeth, 35, was found dead in a bed in the unit where he was housed, Sunflower County Coroner Heather Burton said. He suffered fatal injuries Monday night in a fight with other inmates, the DOC said.
James Talley, 36, suffered fatal injuries Monday night during an altercation and was pronounced dead at the prison, the DOC said.
Both appear to have died from blunt force beating injuries, Burton said. Investigations into the deaths are ongoing and the cause and manner of death for each inmate are pending an autopsy, the DOC said.
The coroner and Department of Corrections said the men's deaths are unrelated to a recent series of killings within the prison system. According to CNN's count, their deaths bring to seven the number of inmates who have died this year at the facility, known as Parchman prison.
At least three of the previous deaths were attributed to violence, the DOC said in a tweet.
Monday's deaths came a day before new leadership was installed at the DOC.
Former Commissioner Pelicia Hall stepped down this week amid widespread concerns about Parchman's violence and infrastructure woes. She announced her resignation late last year and said she'd be taking a job in the private sector.
In his first day on the job, interim Commissioner Tommy Taylor was quoted on the DOC Twitter feed as saying, "We've got to be transparent. We're going to be fiscally responsible, and we're going to be compassionate."
In a statement about the latest deaths, Taylor said DOC officials are working hard to restore order at Parchman.
"We believe that the motivation behind this latest altercation is limited to this new tragic set of circumstances," he said. "The environment that makes such violence possible must be addressed quickly, and we are committed to making changes to do so."
Hudspeth was sentenced in April 2018 to 10 years for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
His death came two days after corrections officers found Gabriel Carmen, 31, hanging in his cell at Parchman, the county coroner said.
Parchman, where roughly 3,600 of Mississippi's 19,000 inmates are incarcerated, has been the target of intense criticism over its "failing infrastructure" and recent deaths.
Following a series of possibly gang-related clashes in the prison that left at least three prisoners dead, rappers Jay-Z and Yo Gotti last week sought to assist prisoners in suing the state in federal court.
In June, the state Department of Health released a 154-page report documenting crumbling, unsanitary conditions in which prisoners lacked power and water, and it "rains inside."
A primary focus of the report was Parchman's Unit 29, where some of the most violent criminals are held. Corrections officials transported about 375 inmates from Unit 29 to a nearby prison earlier this month, and the DOC said on January 13 that it was seeking cells for 625 more prisoners because of Unit 29's unsafe conditions.
In August 2018, Hall requested the FBI help investigate the deaths of 15 inmates, including three of them at Parchman, in the span of a month.