The death of an inmate Friday at the Downeast Correctional Facility in Machiasport was not a homicide and there is nothing suspicious about it, a spokesman for the Maine State Police said Sunday.

But the cause of Phillip Kay’s death remained unknown Sunday.

Stephen McCausland of the Maine Department of Public Safety said the 32-year-old Kay was not killed by another inmate.

McCausland said a guard at the minimum security prison found Kay lying in his own bed around 3:15 p.m. Friday.

“He was dead, but there was no indication of foul play,” McCausland said Sunday night. “There was no indication that he took his own life.”

A team of state police detectives was sent to the prison to investigate Kay’s death. They interviewed other prisoners as well as prison staff.

McCausland said an autopsy on Kay’s body, which was supposed to have been done over the weekend, was postponed, but he was not sure why. The autopsy will take place Monday instead.

Scott Fish, spokesman for the Maine Department of Corrections, could not be reached for comment Sunday. But he told the Press Herald in a previous interview that the Machiasport facility is reserved for prisoners with three years or less left on their sentences and a record that makes them “model prisoners.”

Inmates in minimum-security facilities enjoy privileges that are not available to prisoners in high-security prisons, such as the ability to take part in work-release programs.

Kay was due to be released early next year for a 2009 conviction for aggravated elevated assault. He was sentenced to 12 years, with part of the sentence to be served in prison and the rest under supervised release.

The Downeast Correctional Facility is located at the former Bucks Harbor Air Force station. It opened in June 1985 and currently houses about 150 inmates.

Inmate deaths in Maine prisons have generated a lot of publicity in recent weeks.

In late February, Maine State Prison inmate Richard Stahursky, 35, fatally stabbed another inmate, Micah Boland, 37, according to state police.

Stahursky sneaked into Boland’s cell in the maximum-security prison in Warren and stabbed him 87 times with a makeshift knife, authorities said.

In early April, Guy Hunnewell, 43, who was already serving a 40-year sentence for killing an ex-girlfriend, pleaded no contest to a charge of murdering Alan Powell, 57, during an altercation last year at the Maine State Prison. Hunnewell used an electric guitar to beat his fellow inmate to death.

Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

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