Man accused of killing woman dies at Angola while waiting to testify in alleged murder-for-hire plot

Tyler Ashpaugh
Tyler Ashpaugh(East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office)
Published: Jan. 27, 2023 at 1:48 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 27, 2023 at 2:01 PM CST
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections on Friday, Jan. 27, released information about the death of Tyler Ashpaugh at Angola while waiting to testify in an alleged murder-for-hire plot.

Information provided by the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections:

An East Baton Rouge Parish pretrial inmate being housed at Louisiana State Penitentiary has died at the prison today. Tyler Ashpaugh was found unresponsive in his single-man cell around 6:43 this morning. While making routine rounds, correctional officers ordered Ashpaugh to the cell bars. When he failed to respond, staff opened the cell, found Ashpaugh unresponsive, and immediately initiated life saving measures. Prison EMS transported Ashpaugh to the Louisiana State Penitentiary infirmary, where treatment continued and he was eventually pronounced dead.

At the request of the East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney, Sheriff, and Ashpaugh’s counsel, the Department of Corrections has housed Ashpaugh as a pretrial inmate since September 8, 2015. He was originally held at Dixon Correctional Institute until January 12, 2021, when he was transferred to Louisiana State Penitentiary. Upon request of the district attorney or sheriff, the Department of Corrections will house high-profile pretrial inmates on a case-by-case basis.

Louisiana State Penitentiary has launched an investigation. An autopsy will be done to determine the cause of death. At this time, no further details are available.

The West Feliciana Parish Coroner is in the early stages of investigating the cause of death and was unable to release any preliminary information on Friday, Jan. 27.


Ashpaugh was scheduled to be a key witness in the trial against Hamid Ghassemi, who is accused of hiring three men to kill his ex-wife, Taherah Ghassemi, in 2015.

Ashpaugh was initially charged with first-degree murder, but he entered a guilty plea on July 12, 2018, due to a plea deal. His charge was reduced to manslaughter in exchange for his testimony against his co-defendants.

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