HELENA, Mont. — A Montana State Prison inmate connected to the 1996 beating death of an Idaho man has died in prison.

The Independent Record reports that 61-year-old Joe Edward Gordon died Monday of an extended illness.

Gordon was sentenced to 80 years in prison in 1997 for his role in the kidnapping, robbery and murder of 52-year-old Ririe resident Michael S. Fox.

Prosecutors said Gordon and his accomplice Burly Grimes kidnapped Fox in Idaho after a drinking session and brought him back to Montana in the trunk of his own car. The men smashed his skull with a fire extinguisher at a rock quarry near Whitehall.

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

Information from: Independent Record, http://www.helenair.com

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