WALLA WALLA -- A prison inmate who gained fame through his use, and abuse, of the state public records access laws died today.
Allan Parmelee, 58, was pronounced dead about 6:24 a.m. at the Washington State Penitentiary. Walla Walla County Coroner Richard Greenwood said the preliminary cause of death was natural causes. An autopsy is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Thursday.
According to a 2009 Seattle Times article, Parmelee was serving 17 years for firebombing the cars of two lawyers. During his time in custody, he filed hundreds of public records requests demanding judges', lawyers' and correctional officers' personnel records, photos, addresses, work schedules and birth dates. According to news reports, he once threatened to tear out a court reporter's fingernails.
Parmelee won a legal victory in 2010 when the state Supreme Court ruled that the Department of Corrections must pay his attorney's fees after DOC officials cited him under a criminal libel law, passed in 1869, and gave him 10 days in isolation.