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Officials: Convicted murderer killed herself at Connecticut women's prison

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EAST LYME, Connecticut — A woman convicted of killing a man in a crack cocaine robbery and cutting his body into pieces committed suicide in her cell, state prison officials said Friday.

Guards at the York Correctional Center in East Lyme found Sherri Clarke, 40, of New Britain, with something tied around her neck on Thursday morning, Department of Correction officials said. She was the only inmate in the cell at the time, authorities said.

Correctional officers and medical staff members performed life-saving measures on Clarke, but she was later pronounced dead at Lawrence + Memorial Hospital in New London.

The Chief Medical Examiner's Office was to perform an autopsy to determine the cause of death, but prison officials called it a suicide. Correction Department officials and state police are investigating.

Clarke was serving 25 years for felony murder. She and her boyfriend, Michael Labarge, were convicted of killing 34-year-old Cornell Johnson in a robbery in New Britain in August 2009. Labarge is serving life in prison for murder.

Police said Clarke and Labarge set up a deal to buy $20 worth of crack cocaine from Johnson, then robbed him of the drugs, $50 in cash and his wedding ring. Authorities said Clarke hit Johnson with a bat and Labarge stabbed him to death, then they dumped his body in a wooded area.

Police said the couple later returned and cut Johnson's body into 15 pieces.

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