Suspects in slaying at state prison may be moved
BRUCETON MILLS, W.Va. -- Two inmates accused of killing another prisoner at the U.S. Penitentiary at Hazelton could be moved to an even more restrictive out-of-state prison because of "violent and disruptive behaviors'' that federal authorities say they continue to commit.
Kevin Bellinger and Patrick Andrews, both 32, are serving life sentences and are housed in the prison's most restrictive unit. But the U.S. Bureau of Prisons says in a letter to the inmates' attorneys that they've still threatened staff and been combative.
The Exponent Telegram reports that the bureau sent the letter last month.
The bureau wants to move the men to a prison with a special management unit. The only federal prisons with such units are in Pennsylvania, Alabama, Colorado and Louisiana.
Bellinger and Andrews are charged with the second-degree murder of 28-year-old inmate Jesse Harris, who was stabbed to death in 2007.
If Andrews is convicted, federal prosecutors have said in court documents they will seek the death penalty. They will not, however, pursue it for Bellinger.
Defense lawyers have asked U.S. District Judge Irene Keeley to temporarily block any transfer so they can remain close to their clients and hold a hearing on the bureau's request. They also argue they haven't budgeted for the significant travel costs the relocation would create. The trial isn't scheduled until June 2014.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Brandon Flower wrote last week that the bureau "believes that it is in the best interests of the BOP and the inmates to send them to a facility that can better manage their behaviors.''
Flower said both inmates have misused time intended to let them make calls to their attorneys to instead make unmonitored calls to family and friends. Both also became agitated after learning their cells had been searched and some items confiscated while they were in court.
"Staff were able to de-escalate the situation,'' Flower wrote.
But a few days later, he said, Andrews and another inmate threw feces on staff members, who had to forcibly remove Andrews from his cell.