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Federal inmate from Fort Wayne who threatened Obama sentenced for killing cellmate

Thursday, October 24, 2013 - 1:34 pm

TERRE HAUTE — A federal inmate who was serving time in the Terre Haute federal prison for threatening to kill the president is now facing a life sentence for killing his cellmate.

U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett was at the federal court house on Ohio Street Tuesday to announce the life sentence for Mikeal Minton, 38, formerly of Fort Wayne, who was an inmate in Terre Haute when he killed his cellmate, Calvin Hamrick.

Minton strangled Hamrick using a bed sheet, Hogsett said.

“He will now face the rest of his life … in a federal prison cell,” Hogsett said of Minton, who pleaded guilty to the crime and was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Larry J. McKinney to a life sentence without the possibility of parole.

“Mr. Minton’s decision has cost him, essentially, two lives. The life he took, and his own,” Hogsett told reporters.

Minton was serving an 11-year sentence after pleading guilty in 2010 to two counts of making threats against President Obama. Minton admitted to writing two letters to the president and stated in each letter he planned, upon his release from prison, to kill the president.

While being interviewed by the U.S. Secret Service, Minton refused to retract his threat and said he had every intention of carrying out his plan.

According to court documents, correctional officers were called to Minton’s cell on Jan. 19, 2012. At that time, Minton informed the officers he had “killed his cellie.” Minton told authorities later how he attacked and killed his cellmate and waited several hours before notifying prison staff.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Cynthia Ridgeway, who also spoke during the news conference, said justice has been done with Minton’s life sentence.

“If a person has within them to commit a crime when they are already in custody and they are surrounded by law enforcement officers, we can imagine what they would do on the streets,” Ridgeway said.

Whether Minton will remain at the Terre Haute federal prison is up to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, Ridgeway said.