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Corrections Dept. suspects inmate's death was gang-related

Posted at 5:29 PM, Feb 03, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-04 00:17:19-05

The Arizona Department of Corrections says the death of a state prison inmate is being investigated as a suspected gang-related homicide.

The department says 30-year-old Christopher M. Bendel had multiple stab wounds when he was found in a large outdoor recreation enclosure at the Eyman prison complex in Florence.

According to the department, several inmate-made weapons were recovered at the scene and DOC criminal investigators "have reasonable cause to suspect gang-related foul play may have been involved."

Bendel was sentenced to eight years in prison for a Maricopa County conviction for armed robbery.

He previously was in prison briefly in 2010 on a conviction for discharging a firearm within city limits.

Bendel's DOC inmate profile says he was scheduled to be released in July.