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Joe Edward Gordon

Gordon

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A Montana State Prison inmate connected to the 1996 beating death of a man near Whitehall died Monday of an extended illness.

Joe Edward Gordon, 61, of Laurel, was sentenced in Jefferson County in 1997 for his role in the kidnapping, robbery and murder of Michael S. Fox, 52, of Ririe, Idaho.

Prosecutors said Gordon and his accomplice Burly Grimes kidnapped Fox in Idaho Falls, Idaho, after a drinking session and brought him back to Montana in the trunk of his own car, according to Associated Press reports at the time. The men then smashed his skull with a fire extinguisher at a rock quarry off Interstate 90 near Whitehall, the AP reported.

The two men were arrested in Billings while driving Fox’s car, and the victim’s body was found two months later after Gordon told Idaho authorities where to look.

Gordon pleaded guilty to aggravated kidnapping as part of a plea agreement calling for an 80-year sentence. He was eligible for parole in 2016 and had a discharge date of 2036.

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