Victim’s mother wanted death penalty in inmate murder in Warren County

Victim’s mother wanted death penalty in inmate murder in Warren County

  • Story Highlights
  • Casey Pigge had already accepted life in prison without parole in the murder of a fellow inmate last year.
  • The deceased’s family declined to speak at the sentencing.

The mother of the Springfield man beaten to death in a prison cell last February by Casey Pigge, the convicted murderer suspected of killing another inmate earlier this month, wanted Pigge put to death.

Pigge, 29, was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison without parole, the maximum penalty he faced due to a determination he lacked the mental capabilities to face the death penalty in his second murder trial.

Pigge was sentenced for murdering Luther Wade, 26, of Springfield a year ago with a cement block from the wall in a segregation cell they were sharing at Lebanon Correctional Institution.

“I don’t think it’s fair what he got,” Eugenia Wade said by phone after the sentencing in Warren County Common Pleas Court. “I think he should have got death penalty.”

Her sentiments echoed those of others responding on Facebook to reports of the sentencing and an investigation of whether Pigge killed another inmate, two days after pleading guilty to Wade’s murder.

Last year, Pigge - for the second time - was excluded from a death-penalty prosecution in connection with Wade’s death after a court review, in part due to a low I.Q.

Yet Eugenia Wade said Pigge apparently had the edge on her son mentally, noting Pigge can read and write.

“I think Casey knows what he’s doing,” she added.

Wade and her relatives passed on Tuesday’s hearing scheduled in court in Lebanon to give them their day in court before Pigge was sentenced.

On Jan. 30, Pigge accepted the maximum punishment in the case, life in prison without parole, abandoning plans to claim self defense out of fear Wade was a hitman for a prison gang.

On Feb. 1, Pigge - already serving 41 years to life in prison for murdering and burning to death his girlfriend’s mother in 2006 - is alleged to have strangled David Johnson, a 61-year-old inmate, in a prison van somewhere between Columbus and Ross County.

“Now he’s got a hold of somebody else. What is wrong with the state?” Eugenia Wade said. “Is he going to be able to do it again?”

Johnson’s killing drew sharp criticism from Ross County Prosecutor Matt Schmidt. The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (DRC) referred all questions to the Ohio Highway Patrol, which investigates crimes in state prisons.

On Tuesday, the highway patrol released a new report locating the alleged murder on Ohio 104 in Jackson Twp., Pickaway County, but still lacking other information such as the name of the suspect or victim. The report still indicated Johnson’s body was found more than 20 miles away at Ross Correctional Institution in Ross County.

“DRC is working closely with the Ohio State Highway Patrol as their investigation continues. Consistent with DRC’s protocol following any critical incident, a team has been appointed to conduct a thorough review of the incident as well as a systemic review of transportation policies. Any necessary policy changes will be made based on the findings from that internal investigation,” JoEllen Smith, communications director, said in a statement issued on Feb. 7.

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