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Prisoner to get 20 years for killing sex offender cellmate

9-20-2016 Michigan:

SAGINAW, MI — For the second time in two years, a prisoner has pleaded to murdering a sex offender cellmate in the Saginaw Correctional Facility.

Timothy R. Dickerson appeared before Circuit Judge Robert L. Kaczmarek on Tuesday, Sept. 20, and pleaded no contest to second-degree murder of Jason Turnbull.

Prosecutors will recommend that Dickerson, 24, serve a 20-year minimum sentence for killing Turnbull on Jan. 13 at the state prison at 9625 Pierce in Tittabawassee Township.

"We felt that the punishment was fair based on the totality of the circumstances," said Chief Assistant Prosecutor Christopher Boyd.

Turnbull, 23, died about an hour after what authorities have said was an assault that occurred about 9:30 p.m. between two cellmates. Prison staff found Turnbull unresponsive in the cell, authorities said.

No weapon was found in the cell, said Michigan Department of Corrections spokesman Chris Gautz.

Turnbull was serving a 10- to 15-year sentence for a single count of third-degree criminal sexual conduct by force or coercion and four counts of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct by force or coercion in Livingston County.

"There were no indications from the investigation that that was the motive," Boyd said of Turnbull's convictions. "There were indications that it had something to do with a disagreement between the two."

Prosecutors initially charged Dickerson with an open count of murder that includes first-degree murder, which carries a mandatory penalty of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

At the time of Turnbull's death, Dickerson was serving a six- to 15-year sentence for two counts of armed robbery in Alpena County. His earliest release date was July 26, 2015, or about six months after he killed Turnbull.

"Unfortunately, he was soon to get out of prison," Boyd said. "Obviously, he has some anger issues."

Following the incident, Michigan Department of Corrections personnel transferred Dickerson to the St. Louis Correctional Facility. Dickerson now is imprisoned in the Ionia Correctional Facility under Security Level V, which is the highest level in Michigan prisons.

Kaczmarek is scheduled to sentence Dickerson on Oct. 31. ..Source.. by Andy Hoag

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