NEW DETAILS: Prosecutor blasts prison officials over inmate death

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Caption
Casey Pigge is suspected of strangling an inmate while they were being transported to prison.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Convicted murderer alleged to have killed second inmate

Ross County Prosecutor Matt Schmidt blasted state prison officials on Monday after a convicted murderer allegedly killed another inmate, two days after agreeing to spend the rest of his life in prison for murdering his cell mate in February in Warren County.

Casey Pigge, 29, is accused of choking to death an inmate David Johnson, 61, last Wednesday while they were being transported in an Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC) bus.

“The fact that he was left alone with access to other inmates is beyond me. I’m completely amazed this was allowed to happen,” Schmidt said.

Pigge pleaded guilty in Warren County Common Pleas Court on Jan. 30 to murdering cell mate Luther Wade, 26, of Springfield with a cement block from the wall of their cell in the segregation unit at Lebanon Correctional Institution on Feb. 23.

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Pigge was serving a 41 years to life sentence for murder in Ross County in 2009 for killing his girlfriend’s mother and setting her on fire.

Reports of Monday's inmate killing were circulating in Warren County on Friday.

“This is one of those… I’m still just amazed,” Schmidt said. “After just being convicted in Warren County.”

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No charges have been filed yet in the most recent case.

Pigge was back in the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Scioto County, according to online records.

“One would hope ODRC has finally gotten the message he shouldn’t be left unsupervised with other inmates, but maybe not,” Schmidt added.

On Monday, afternoon, ODRC identified the victim as Johnson, who was serving 8 years in prison for sexual battery in Franklin County. He had been admitted to the prison system on Dec. 30, 2015.

ODRC referred questions about the case to the investigating agency, the Ohio Highway Patrol.

ODRC also declined to provide a copy of its transportation policy.

“DRC’s transportation policy is a security policy and is not a public record,” JoEllen Smith, communications director for ODRC, said in an email Monday.

Schmidt said he had been told by an Ohio Highway Patrol investigator that Pigge and the victim were riding in a section of the bus out of the view of the guards transporting them.

Schmidt indicated the inmates were handcuffed, but not chained down to prevent them from moving around. There are no manifests kept showing the seating arrangements for the transports, Schmidt said he learned from the investigator.

“Apparently the guards in the front of the bus are unable to see what the inmates in the back of the bus are doing,” Schmidt added.

While the body was discovered in Ross County, the killing could have occurred anywhere between Columbus and Chillicothe, Schmidt said.

On Monday, the Ohio Highway Patrol released an initial report indicating the killing occurred between 2:45 p.m. and 2:55 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 1, at the Ross Correctional Institution, where Johnson was to be held.

The report provided few other details and identified neither Pigge or Johnson.

Pigge claimed he killed Wade out of fear Wade was intent on killing Pigge for a prison gang and the case seemed headed for trial.

Then last Monday, wrapped in a straitjacket, Pigge pleaded guilty to Wade’s murder and agreed to a sentence of life in prison without parole, the maximum he faced in the case.

“I just want to get it over with,” Pigge said during the hearing.

On Monday, Pigge was still scheduled for sentencing on Feb. 14 in Warren County.

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