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Man gets 20 years for prison murder of sex offender cellmate

10-31-2016 Michigan:

SAGINAW, MI — A former Alpena-area man will serve 20 years in prison for killing his cellmate in the Saginaw Correctional Facility in Freeland.

Saginaw County Circuit Judge Robert L. Kaczmarek on Monday, Oct. 31, sentenced Timothy R. Dickerson to 20 to 40 years for second-degree murder.

Dickerson, 24, pleaded no contest to that charge in September for killing Jason Turnbull on Jan. 13 at the state prison at 9625 Pierce in Tittabawassee Township.

Because he was in prison at the time of the murder, Dickerson did not receive any credit for time served.

The 20-year sentence that Dickerson received was recommended by prosecutors, who also agreed to drop an initial open count of murder as part of Dickerson's plea agreement. That includes first-degree murder, which carries a mandatory penalty of life in prison with the possibility of parole; second-degree murder carries a maximum possible penalty of life with parole.

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

urnbull, 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."

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.

Dickerson now is in Security Level 5, the highest such level, at the Ionia Correctional Facility. ..Source.. by Andy Hoag

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