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Federal Inmate in Pennsylvania Pleads Guilty to Premeditated Prison Murder

U.S. Department of Justice January 08, 2013
  • Office of Public Affairs (202) 514-2007/TDD (202) 514-1888

WASHINGTON—A federal inmate formerly held in Pennsylvania’s Allenwood Federal Correctional Complex pleaded guilty today in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, before U.S. District Judge Yvette Kane to first-degree murder for stabbing and kicking a fellow inmate to death.

Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania Peter J. Smith announced the plea, entered today by Shawn Cooya, 33, formerly of White River, Arizona.

According to documents filed in this case and Cooya’s admissions in court, in September 2005, Cooya, allegedly along with co-defendant Ritz Williams—another inmate at Allenwood in White Deer, Pennsylvania—aided each other in the premeditated murder of inmate Alvin Allery by repeatedly stabbing him with a homemade knife and repeatedly kicking him in the head and torso.

Cooya and Williams were indicted by a federal grand jury in Williamsport in February 2008 and a superseding indictment was returned in July 2009.

As a result of his plea, Cooya faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison. Sentencing has been scheduled for March 18, 2013.

A trial date for Williams has been scheduled for April 15, 2013. He is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The case was investigated by the FBI’s Williamsport, Pennsylvania Resident Agency and the Federal Bureau of Prisons. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Wayne Samuelson and Michelle Olshefski of the Middle District of Pennsylvania and Michael Warbel of the Criminal Division’s Capital Case Unit.

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