Casey Pigge, 28, of Ross County, is accused of murdering his cellmate with a brick from the wall of their cell at Lebanon Correctional Institution.

2-foot hole found in Lebanon prison wall after Springfield man’s death

Defense seeks to block statement from

Reports released Thursday by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction also confirm statements from the lawyer for the inmate accused of murder in the case questioning security at the prison.

Casey Pigge, 28, of Ross County, is suspected using a brick from the cell wall to beat to death Luther Wade, 28, of Springfield, on Feb. 28 at the high-security prison.

The reports were released as Pigge, 28, of Ross County, appeared in court in Lebanon for a hearing to determine if statements he made to investigators, including a confession, should be withheld because Pigge lacked the mental capacity to understand what he was doing when he made them.

The hole, which is being closed in renovations, was concealed by newspaper and by clothing hung over it, according to the investigative reports released in response to a public records request.

Luther Wade, 28, of Springfield, was beaten to death in his cell at Lebanon Correctional Institution.
Photo: Staff Writer

“Besides the obvious blood splatter, pools of blood and bloody items, they did discover two other remarkable items/issues,” the report said. “The first was the recovery of an 8-inch by 8-inch piece of concrete block from underneath the bed.

“This led to the discovery of the second remarkable issue. Cells 2R4 and 2R5 both had newspaper stuck to the common wall next to the lower bunks, as well as clothing hanging from a clothesline further concealing the newspaper.”

“When the clothing and newspaper was removed, a large hole measuring approximately 2-feet by 2-feet between the cells was revealed. All of the concrete blocks that had been removed were missing from the cells with the exception of the 8-inch by 8-inch piece recovered in Cell 2R5,” the incident report said.

Pigge is charged with aggravated murder and possession of a deadly weapon while under detention.

Prosecutors said they declined to seek the death penalty due to Pigge’s low IQ, which disqualified him under Ohio law.

On Thursday, he sat in shackles, with two guards behind him, as lawyer John Kaspar and prosecutors interviewed witnesses about Pigge’s mental condition during the time around when he signed a waiver giving up his right to not talk to investigators.

Trooper Joe Griffith, the Ohio Highway Patrol investigator in the case, said he and and other troopers were entering the prison as Turtlecreek Twp. emergency workers passed with Wade on a stretcher.

“They were providing lifesaving measures on the victim as we entered,” he said, then describing how a trail of blood led along the floor up to the cell block where he interviewed Pigge.

“It was kind of odd,” Griffith said. “When I first came into contact with him, he was clean,”

Pigge had wet hair and clean clothes, but was somber as they began their interview after Pigge signed — even read out loud — from the Miranda Warning form.

As they began talking about the incident, “he began crying,” Griffith said. “At some points, he was very detailed.”

Pigge said he had taken methamphetamine the night before, but a blood test showed he was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the interview, Griffith said.

A series of witnesses, including an investigator from a 2008 murder investigation in Ross County that resulted in Pigge’s prison sentence, were called by prosecutors to reinforce the idea that Pigge, although of a low IQ, knew what he was doing when hie signed the waiver of his rights against self incrimination, as well as the proceedings he was undergoing after Wade’s beating death.

The court hearing was continued until Nov. 1, when Kaspar is to make his case.

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