'Satanist' Accused of Murder Dies After Apparent Suicide in North Carolina Prison
A self-proclaimed Satanist accused of murdering one man and helping bury the body of another died in an apparent suicide in a North Carolina prison cell on Wednesday, authorities said in a statement.
Officials said during a news conference on Wednesday that the 36-year-old was found with a wound to his arm, the Winston-Salem Journal reports.
Algarad was rushed to the prison’s medical center. Prison officials tried unsuccessfully to revive him but he was pronounced dead at about 4:20 a.m., according to the statement.
His death came just one day before he was due in Forsyth District Court on charges of killing one man and helping bury another, the Journal reports.
Forsyth County District Attorney Jim O’Neill did not immediately respond to a request for comment from PEOPLE.
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Algarad and his girlfriend, Amber Burch, were charged with murder after authorities discovered the remains of Joshua Wetzler, 32, and Tommy Welch, 31, in the backyard of their Clemmons home where the couple lived. (The home has since been demolished.)
Burch is due in court today and might enter a plea at her appearance, a Forsythe County spokesperson tells PEOPLE.
Algarad was sent to the prison in May on a safe-keeping order, the Associated Press reports. He was housed with the general population at the facility and prison officials conducted bed checks every hour, a Department of Public Safety spokeswoman told the Journal.
The Department of Public Safety did not immediately respond to a request for comment from PEOPLE.
Both the State Capitol Police Department and City-County Bureau of Identification are working together to conduct an investigation into Algarad’s death.
Algarad was born John Lawson but legally changed his name in 2002 to reference a demon in The Exorcist. He sported “666” tattoos and a neighbor told PEOPLE last year that Algarad told him “he practiced Satanism.”
Algarad’s now-demolished home seemingly reflected his embrace of Satanism: The front door of the home donned an image of a human skull and the words “Evil Will Triumph.” A video of the residence showed animal carcasses inside and layers of debris strewn throughout, with graffiti on the walls.