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Two Inmates Indicted for Killing Inside Federal Prison

U.S. Attorney’s Office April 25, 2013
  • Northern District of Georgia (404) 581-6000

ATLANTA—Federal inmates Donald R. Lafond, Jr. and Jason Robert Widdison have been indicted for the 2011 murder of a fellow prisoner at the United States Penitentiary in Atlanta, Georgia.

“Offenders who commit violent acts like this must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates. “The Department of Justice and its Bureau of Prisons endeavors to protect the life and safety of every federal inmate. We remain vigilant and will do everything we can to ensure that prisons are as safe as possible for every inmate and employee.”

According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges, and other information presented in court, on March 1, 2011, Lafond, 52, and Widdison, 34, were exercising inside the prison’s special housing unit recreation area. The victim, a fellow inmate, joined the defendants in the area and attempted to make conversation and walk around with them.

After a short period of time, Lafond and Widdison suddenly began to punch the victim from both front and behind, knocking the victim to the ground. Both Lafond and Widdison then stomped on the victim’s head and neck, as many as 10 times each. Corrections officers witnessed the incident and intervened. Both men complied with the officers’ orders to stop beating the victim, but by then, the victim was unconscious. The victim was taken to a hospital but never regained consciousness. As a result of his injuries, the victim died on April 5, 2011.

Mark F. Giuliano, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office, stated, “The basic civil liberties of the victim federal inmate in this case were absolutely ignored by fellow inmates Lafond and Widdison, and that will not be ignored by federal authorities. The FBI will continue to provide investigative assistance and other assets as needed in assisting the U.S. Bureau of Prisons maintain order within U.S. Penitentiary-Atlanta.”

Lafond and Widdison appeared today in federal court in Atlanta before United States Magistrate Judge Janet F. King. The indictment charges that the defendants, aided and abetted by one another and with malice aforethought, killed the victim by punching and stomping him. The charge carries a maximum sentence of life in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000. In determining the actual sentence, the court will consider the United States Sentencing Guidelines, which are not binding but provide appropriate sentence ranges for most offenders.

This case is being investigated by special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Members of the public are reminded that the indictment contains only allegations. The defendants are presumed innocent of the charges, and it will be the government’s burden to prove the defendants’ guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.

For further information, please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Information Office at USAGAN.Pressemails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is www.justice.gov/usao/gan.

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