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Prison lifer accused of drowning inmate in toilet dies

1-11-2010 Michigan:

Ionia -- A prison lifer has died just weeks after he was charged with first-degree murder in the drowning death of a fellow inmate at the Macomb County Correctional Facility in Lenox Township, state police said today.

Andrew Terence Neal, 42, who was relocated to Ionia Correctional Facility after admitting to investigators that he used bedding to restrain an inmate and forced his face into a toilet in September, was found dead in his cell Jan. 4. Police say preliminary autopsy findings attribute the death to a pulmonary embolism.

Michigan State Police Richmond Post Detective Sgt. Patrick Young said Neal told authorities he attacked 32-year-old Anthony Wayne Lee on Sept. 6 because he "wanted to kill someone."

Neal, whose last known residence was in Grand Rapids, allegedly confessed to the murder the same evening it occurred. He was relocated to Ionia and his security level was increased.

Neal was incarcerated on a murder charge from Kent County and armed robbery, weapons and assault to commit armed robbery from Wayne County.

"He had indicated that he simply wanted to murder someone and this individual (Lee) happened to be his opportunity to kill," Young said. "He'd also confessed to prison guards at Ionia that he had killed Mr. Lee. He said, 'Who cares, I'm in here doing life, what does it matter?' That was basically his philosophy."

Young said the Macomb County Prosecutor's office authorized charges in Lee's murder Dec. 22. Neal hadn't yet been transferred for a formal arraignment.

Young said Neal was alive and watching television in his one-man cell during morning rounds on Jan. 4. But on the next check, officers found him dead on the floor.

Young said Neal had lured Lee into the cell with him on the premise of a sexual encounter.

Lee had been serving 27 months to 15 years for a 2005 criminal sexual conduct offense involving a victim younger than 13 years old, according to state records.

Neal had been cited for fighting in June. Before that, he hadn't been punished for misconduct since 2003, corrections officials have said. ..Source.. Christine Ferretti / The Detroit News

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