Man convicted of punching, killing inmate at Ohio prison

MANSFIELD, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio prison inmate has been convicted of murder and other charges for punching and killing another inmate in what trial testimony revealed was a paid “hit” for snitching on a gang leader.

A Richland County jury deliberated for around two hours before returning its verdict Friday against Tyree Carter, 24, who was accused of killing Michael Dodgens at the Mansfield Correctional Institution in August 2017.

According to trial testimony, a gang leader who accused Dodgens of snitching on him promised Carter $100 and a promotion within the gang for carrying out an attack against Dodgens, The Mansfield News Journal reported.

The punch separated two of Dodgens’ vertebrae.

Assistant Richland County Prosecutor Jodie Schumacher said the case was difficult to investigate because of a prison culture that encourages retaliation against people. Inmates who cooperated in the investigation have been threatened, Schumacher said.

Carter is serving a seven-year sentence for a 2015 conviction on aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary and felonious assault charges from Stark County. He faces as many as 15 additional years in prison at sentencing Tuesday.

Carter rejected a deal in November that would have led to a 10-year sentence if he agreed to plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter.

His attorney declined to comment after the verdict.