TSCI fires result in inmate death

TSCI fires result in inmate death


CONTACT Dayne Urbanovsky, Director of Strategic Communications

OFFICE 402-479-5799 | dayne.urbanovsky@nebraska.gov

October 6, 2023 (Tecumseh, Neb.) –  Jesse Spencer #80917 (27) died at the Tecumseh State Correctional Institution (TSCI) on Thursday, Oct. 5, 2023. He was found unresponsive inside his cell.

Spencer was one of five inmates who intentionally set fires inside of their cells on a housing unit around 6:00 p.m. Staff members responded immediately, including members of the facility’s Corrections Emergency Response Team (CERT). Inmates in the affected cells initially refused staff directives. Three inmates then complied and were escorted out. Two others, including Spencer, continued to refuse. Staff members went in to retrieve them. Spencer was found lying in his cell. Staff members engaged in life saving efforts, but he could not be revived.

Staff members quickly extinguished the fires, which were out by the time local fire crews arrived at TSCI. No other housing units were impacted. No other inmates required medical attention. Two staff members were examined at the hospital for non-serious medical situations related to the incident.

Spencer’s sentence began on September 18, 2014. He was serving just over 12 years to 20 years on charges that included second degree assault, assault by a confined person, theft, terroristic threats and criminal mischief out of Gage, Johnson and Lancaster counties.

Currently, TSCI remains on modified operations while the incident is being investigated. As is the case whenever an inmate dies in the custody of the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services (NDCS), a grand jury will also conduct an investigation.