Inmate confesses to prison murder in letter to newspaper

A state prison inmate confessed to the beating death of a fellow prisoner at Warren Correctional Institution in a letter to the Columbus Dispatch, the paper reported today.

Inmate Joel M. Drain, 37, wrote that he beat prisoner Christopher M. Richardson in an April 13 attack at the prison, which he claimed was captured on video surveillance cameras, the newspaper reported. Richardson died April 15 at Miami Valley Hospital, the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office confirmed.

» RELATED: Since 2000, Ohio prisons have had more than 30 homicide deaths

Ohio Highway Patrol Staff Lt. Craig Cvetan declined to disclose the names of the suspect or victim because the investigation is ongoing. The patrol does not have a copy of the letter, he said. “According to the investigator I talked to yesterday, he is writing letters like crazy.”

Cvetan said even if a confession is obtained, crimes must be thoroughly investigated to determine the cause of death, identify suspects involved, collect and process evidence and document the scene.

Richardson, 29, was serving a four year sentence for aggravated arson. He set fire to his mother’s home in January 2017, Delaware County court records show.

» RELATED: Prison guards didn’t know inmate was being murdered on bus

Drain, 37, is incarcerated at the Ohio Penitentiary near Youngstown, the state’s super max security prison. He is serving 30 years to life for aggravated murder, theft and felonious assault. Drain found out that Randy Grose called police to report Drain had stabbed his father. Drain later beat and stabbed Grose to death, according to the bill of particulars in the Hancock County case.

Staff writer Max Filby contributed to this report.

About the Author