Inmate: Fear of prison gang prompted beating death

A prison inmate told investigators that he beat his cellmate to death in February out of fear he would himself have been murdered for the Aryan Brotherhood prison gang.

“If I had went to sleep, I would have been gone,” Casey Pigge said during an interview after he allegedly beat to death Luther Wade, 28, of Springfield with a brick from their cell wall on Feb. 28 at Lebanon Correctional Institution.

The interview was viewed Tuesday during a hearing held to determine whether Pigge, 28, was mentally capable of waiving his rights not to incriminate himself. He is charged with murder and having a deadly weapon under detention in Warren County Common Pleas Court.

Prison guards found the brick used to kill Wade, but were unable to locate other bricks apparently removed from the 2-foot by 2-foot hole in the wall separating them from the neighboring cell in the segregation unit of the prison, according to reports released by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.

During the interview, Pigge told the investigator he took action because, as a snitch, he faced retribution from the gang. Although drug tests indicated otherwise, Pigge also said he had been awake all night on methamphetamine when he attacked Wade as they wrapped up a game of rummy in their cell.

Pigge ended the interview abruptly after indicating he feared for his life as a result of Wade’s killing.

“They’re going to try to kill me for this,” he said during the video.

Dr. James Hagen, a psychotherapist who examined Pigge before he was convicted of murder in Ross County in 2009, said he was developmentally disabled. However after watching the video interview following the February killing, Hagen said he believed Pigge understood what he was doing when he waived his rights before talking to investigators.

Judge Donald Oda II said he would issue a written opinion on whether Pigge’s statements, including a confession, could be used against him at his trial, set for February.

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