Coroner: Suspect in 1979 Cape murder died from natural causes

Thursday, August 27, 2009
Max Ellison Jr. enters the courtroom at the Cape Girardeau County courthouse in Jackson for a preliminary hearing in this file photo. (Fred Lynch)

Cape Girardeau County Coroner John Clifton closed the investigation into the death of Max Ellison on Wednesday, finding the suspect in a 1979 Cape Girardeau murder died of natural causes, according to a news release from Clifton's office.

In the release, Clifton said a review of Cape Girardeau County Jail records, medical records at the hospital where Ellison died and the preliminary autopsy report showed Ellison's death was a natural one.

Ellison died over the weekend at an undisclosed area hospital.

Ellison, 61, faced charges of first-degree murder and first-degree robbery in connection with the death of Deborah L. Martin. Before he was hospitalized, Ellison had been incarcerated on a $10 million cash-only bond in the Cape Girardeau County Jail as he awaited a March 29 jury trial.

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