On Wednesday, two inmates in a Louisiana prison-36 and 34 years old-pleaded not guilty to the kidnapping and murder of an Ohio man in Mississippi after escaping from prison on a work assignment.

Both men were indicted on September 8 on charges of kidnapping, carjacking, transporting a stolen vehicle and conspiracy. Those charges are connected to the abduction of a 53-year-old Ohio man.

According to sources, the Ohio man was attacked while inspecting nuclear power plant in Mississippi. The two inmates had escaped from a prison work program north of Baton Rouge on March 4. The Louisiana Department of Public Safety apparently uses around 160 inmate workers for various jobs at the state compound from which the men escaped. Both men had been working as groundskeepers and somehow obtained the keys to a van and escape.

At the time of the incident escape, one of the men was incarcerated on charges of armed robbery, and the other for attempted second-degree murder. The men reportedly had until 2023 and 2024 until they were set for release.

One they got out, they apparently beat and strangled the Ohio man and dumped his body off in Bessemer Alabama, in order to steal his rental car. The inmates were recaptured on March 14, in Memphis, Tennessee after crashing a pickup truck in Memphis. The truck was reportedly stolen from a county park worker in Jackson, Tennessee.

Both men have appeared before a judge in U.S. District Court in Jackson, Mississippi. Sources said one of the men had not completed high school, and that the other was a college dropout with mental problems.

Source: Sun Herald, “Inmates plead not guilty in man’s abduction and killing,” Holbrook Mohr, Oct 12, 2011.