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Maryland Prison Sees Three Prisoners Murdered in Five Months

Officials at Maryland's highest-security prison, in Cumberland, Maryland have seen an inexplicable spike in prisoner homicides in recent months. Three prisoners at the North Branch Correctional Institution (NBCI), have been murdered by fellow prisoners in just five months.

In April, 2007, Charles David Richardson, IV, (aka "Face"), shot and killed a female clerk at a 7-Eleven across the street from his Columbia townhouse. Then, in May 2007, he shot a 19-year old acquaintance in the face and three times in the back, inside his apartment. Richardson was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for each murder.

Once considered one of the most violent criminals in Howard County, Maryland, Richardson, 28, relinquished that title and completed his life sentence on September 27, 2012.

At approximately 5 a.m., that morning, guards observed Richardson's cellmate outside the cell, "in possession of clothing that appeared to be bloodstained," according to the Maryland State Police. Guards then rushed into the cell and discovered Richardson under a blanket with obvious head trauma. He was pronounced dead at the scene, police said. The official cause of death was strangulation.

On November 27, 2012, serial rapist Michael Armstead, 53, was attacked by another prisoner while walking to the dining hall, according to police. He suffered a serious head injury in the attack and was taken to a Baltimore hospital. He remained there until he died on January 9, 2013.

Ricky Bailey, 51, was serving life without parole for a 1991 home invasion, rape and robbery. As guards served breakfast at about 4 a.m. on February 10, 2013, Bailey alerted them that he "needed to be removed from the cell," according to state police. When guards returned to the cell, they found Bailey unconscious with injuries to his head, neck and extremities. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Authorities identified the suspect in each case as a fellow prisoner but their identities have not been released. Officials also have not yet revealed a motive for any of the murders. Maryland State Police Troopers say the suspects will be indicted, but it unclear if any of the assailants have been formally charged yet.

When they are, they won't have to worry about the death penalty, because Maryland abolished capital punishment on May 2, 2013, becoming the first state south of the Mason-Dixon Line to do so in nearly 50 years, joining only West Virginia.

The repeal does not affect the five men currently on Maryland's death row, but most expect Democratic Governor Martin O'Malley, a Roman Catholic who opposes capital punishment, to commute their sentences.

Sources: The Baltimore Sun,, The Associated Press


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