News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

June 19, 2014

Two inmates convicted in death of fellow prisoner

Cellmates found guilty for stabbing, assisting

TERRE HAUTE — Two men have been convicted for their roles in the death of a fellow inmate at the Terre Haute Federal Correctional Institute.

William J. Bell, 38, was convicted on one count of first-degree murder and Lenard Dixon, 35, was convicted on one count of accessory after the fact, following a three-day jury trial before U.S. District Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson.

According to evidence presented at trial, Bell entered the cell of a fellow inmate – 29-year-old Brian Pendelton – on June 18, 2011, and stabbed him to death. Bell’s cellmate, Dixon, concealed evidence of the crime, including the murder weapon.

Both Bell and Dixon had extensive criminal histories. Bell had nine prior convictions accumulated across Illinois, Arkansas and Kansas. At the time of the murder, he was serving a nearly eight-year sentence for carjacking. Dixon had several convictions in Kansas and, at the time of the murder, was serving a 35-year sentence for robbery.

Bell faces up to life in prison and Dixon faces up to 15 years, in addition to the time he is already serving.

“Protecting all citizens from senseless violence is important. We owe it to the employees of our federal prisons to do what we can to keep their work places as safe and secure as possible,” said U.S. Attorney Joseph Hogsett in announcing the conviction.

“A goal of our office is to prosecute those who have already been acquainted with the American justice system and still do not obey the law,” Hogsett said. “One person’s refusal to obey the law should not result in the end of another person’s life.”

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matthew Brookman and Will McCoskey.

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