A patient at the Minnesota Security Hospital in St. Peter died Wednesday night from injuries inflicted by another patient, the state's Department of Human Services said Thursday morning.
St. Peter police are investigating the incident. They were called to the hospital shortly before 8 p.m. Wednesday night and found 41-year-old Michael Douglas mortally injured in his room, Chief Matthew Peters said.
"It was obvious to the responding patrol officers his injuries were caused by some type of violent trauma," Peters said.
Rivers Edge Hospital Ambulance paramedics attempted life support, but were unsuccessful.
Douglas, who was convicted of first degree murder in 1992, was ordered detained under civil commitment in December. His body was taken to St. Paul for an autopsy by the Ramsey County Medical Examiner, Peters said.
Police arrested a 31-year-old patient at the hospital for murder, and took him to the Nicollet County jail.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension sent investigators and crime scene personnel to the hospital to assist in the investigation.
The suspect -- who has criminal convictions including assault, disorderly conduct, and theft -- was committed to the security hospital as mentally ill and dangerous last October.
Officials with the state Department of Human Services, which oversees the hospital, declined to comment on the incident. But in a statement, department officials said both the state health department and the Ombudsman for Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities will conduct reviews.
The Minnesota Security Hospital provides treatment to more than 400 adults whom courts have deemed mentally ill and dangerous. But the facility has had a troubled history. Last year, the state inspector general found patients were maltreated in two cases.
In one case, a patient banged his head against a concrete wall for three hours without anyone on staff intervening to stop him. In another incident last year, a patient who suffered from seizures did not receive the required medical treatment until four hours after having a stroke.
Also last year, staff at the Security Hospital let a violent sex offender leave because they missed a mandatory paperwork deadline.
In early 2012, hospital administrator David Proffitt resigned amid allegations he created a hostile work environment. At the time, DHS deputy commissioner Anne Barry said in an email that the claims against Proffitt were unsubstantiated.
Gov. Mark Dayton said he couldn't comment on the Security Hospital death, but said the physical environment at the hospital is not conducive to treatment.
"It's not a therapeutic environment," Dayton said. "It's not a safe environment for the patients, it's not a safe environment for the staff, and then you get all these people who are in various stages of emotional distress in their lives and they're all crowded together. It's a situation that's just asking for trouble."
In his bonding request to lawmakers, Dayton asked for more than $56 million to upgrade facilities for patients at the security hospital, which is in the district of state Rep. Clark Johnson.
Johnson, DFL-North Mankato, said an overhaul of the physical environment is essential. But he also said state leaders need to continue to look at how the hospital is run.
"I think it's pretty clear that there's programming challenges associated with the security hospital as well," Johnson said. "And it's been well documented over the last several years. I know there's been honest and sincere efforts to improve it, but obviously there's still work to be done."
Johnson said fixing problems at the hospital -- both with the building itself and the treatment provided within it -- will take bipartisan cooperation at the Capitol.
Department of Human Services officials also said in their statement that the department will cooperate fully with any and all reviews into the death of Michael Douglas, and is reaching out to his family and to other patients and employees affected by the tragedy.