Vernon Thomas was jailed on a charge of first-degree murder in the beating death of 37-year-old Wesley Porter, and had been jailed since his arrest in March.

NEOSHO, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri murder suspect has died after contracting COVID-19 in jail while awaiting trial.

The Joplin Globe reports that 43-year-old Vernon Thomas died Dec. 6. Newton County Sheriff Chris Jennings said Tuesday that Thomas died at a Joplin hospital, two days after his symptoms first appeared.

Thomas was jailed on a charge of first-degree murder in the beating death of 37-year-old Wesley Porter, and had been jailed since his arrest in March.

Jennings said Thomas was among several inmates who tested positive after an inmate starting showing symptoms in late November. Thomas first showed symptoms on Dec. 4 and was hospitalized.