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LITTLE ROCK -- An Arkansas inmate serving a life sentence for the so-called "Blue Light Rapes" has died after testing positive for the new coronavirus, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Thursday.

Robert Todd Burmingham, 54, was convicted of the April 1997 rape of a woman at her home in Wynne and the July 1997 rape of a 17-year-old girl who had stopped for a car with a police-style flashing blue light. He was accused but not brought to trial in two other rapes.

The Arkansas Department of Correction said the inmate at the Cummins Unit died Wednesday of natural causes, but Hutchinson said his death was related to COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus.

Burmingham's death was first reported by Little Rock television station KATV,

Health officials say 900 inmates at Cummins have tested positive for the virus and eight inmates have died from COVID-19.

Hutchinson announced that at least 4,366 people in the state have tested positive for coronavirus, an increase over the 4,236 reported Wednesday. The true number is likely higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected and not feel sick.

The state's COVID-19 deaths have risen to 98.

State Desk on 05/15/2020

Print Headline: Arkansas man convicted in 'blue light' rapes dies from virus

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