NEW DETAILS: ‘I’m (expletive) guilty,’ cellmate says in Warren Correctional strangulation death

The cellmate of a man strangled to death last fall at the Warren Correctional Institution told investigators, “yeah, I’m (expletive) guilty,” according to documents released Friday by the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

Jedidiah Hayes Lang, 42, serving 15 years to life for a murder conviction, was indicted in March for two counts of murder and one count each of felonious assault and strangulation. He “purposely caused the death of his cellmate,” according to a Warren County grand jury report.

Credit: Ohio Department of Rehabilitation & Correction

Credit: Ohio Department of Rehabilitation & Correction

Lang is pleading not guilty by reason of insanity in the Oct. 26, 2023, death of his cellmate, Cody S. Bartimus, 31, of Newark.

Bartimus was pronounced dead at Atrium Medical Center in Middletown. “His cause of death was strangulation and the manner is homicide,” the Warren County Coroner’s Office reported.

Warren County Common Pleas Judge Donald Oda II on Friday continued a hearing for Lang to July 22 on his competency to stand trial and mental condition at the time of the offense.

Lang told investigators that he got into an argument with Bartimus — who had been his cellmate for about a week — because Bartimus was tearing up his mattress and getting mattress foam all over Lang’s belongings. He said Bartimus jumped down from the top bunk and got in Lang’s face.

“Lang said he warned Bartimus that he was not ‘right in the (expletive) head’ but Bartimus kept on getting aggressive,” stated a report from the highway patrol, which investigated the homicide. “Lang said he stood up and the next thing he knew he had a towel wrapped around Bartimus’ head, ‘trying to rip his head off.’”

Lang said he blacked out and when he came to, Bartimus was on the floor and was purple. He knew Bartimus was dead because he had “done this before.” Lang then changed his clothes, placing the ones he had on his laundry bag, then had a cup of Kool-Aid and about 20 minutes later alerted a corrections officer who was completing rounds. He did not touch the towel that was twisted around Bartimus’ neck, the report read.

When asked to give his consent for photos and to provide DNA, Lang reportedly told the trooper, “yeah, I’m (expletive) guilty.”

Lang said he does not have a mental health diagnosis and is not on medication but said that he has told staff he was having troubles but that no one would take him seriously, according to the report.

Credit: Ohio Department of Rehabilitation & Correction

Credit: Ohio Department of Rehabilitation & Correction

Bartimus at the time of his death was near the end of a 5½-year prison term he received in 2018 for attempting to abduct a 4-year-old girl from a vehicle in June 2017 as her mother was strapping her into a car seat outside a child care facility, the Newark Advocate reported.

Lang was sentenced to 15 years to life after he pleaded guilty to murder in the 2013 death of Bradley Allen Grosscup, 52, of Mount Vernon in Knox County, 40 miles northeast of Columbus.

Grosscup’s body was found in his burned-out apartment. Investigators said Grosscup let Lang and his girlfriend move in with him because they were homeless. An autopsy found that Grosscup had been strangled, according to The Columbus Dispatch.

Lang is incarcerated at the Ohio State Penitentiary in Youngstown.

About the Author