Pinal sheriff: Inmate killed cellmate to stay in prison - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Pinal sheriff: Inmate killed cellmate to stay in prison

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Roberto Fernandez reportedly told Pinal County sheriff's deputies he killed his cellmate so he would be able to stay in prison. (Source: Pinal County Sheriff's Office) Roberto Fernandez reportedly told Pinal County sheriff's deputies he killed his cellmate so he would be able to stay in prison. (Source: Pinal County Sheriff's Office)
Michael McNaughton was found dead in the cell he shared with Fernandez. (Source: Pinal County Sheriff's Office) Michael McNaughton was found dead in the cell he shared with Fernandez. (Source: Pinal County Sheriff's Office)
FLORENCE, AZ (CBS5) -

An Arizona prison inmate said he choked his cellmate to death, stomped his head and then bit him in the groin so he could remain in prison, according to a Pinal County Sheriff's Office spokesman.

Tim Gaffney said the sheriff's office was asking that a first-degree murder charge to be filed against Roberto Venegas Fernandez, 43, who reportedly told homicide detectives the he liked prison and was afraid of being released so he killed Michael Patrick McNaughton, 55, Saturday morning, Gaffney said.

Fernandez said he stomped and bit the victim to ensure he would get first-degree murder, Gaffney said.

Investigators originally investigated the death as the result of a fight between the men, who were housed together in the Corrections Corporation of America, a privately run prison in Florence contracted by the U.S. Marshals Service, Gaffney said.

But Fernandez later told detectives that he choked McNaughton while he was sitting on his bunk.

PCSO Sheriff Paul Babeu said Fernandez is from Mexico and was convicted for committing a sex crime in the U.S. He was approaching his release from prison and allegedly killed McNaughton so he wouldn't be sent back to Mexico, Babeu said.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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