Sheriff's Office: Inmate killed to stay in prison - New York News

Sheriff's Office: Inmate killed to stay in prison; feared deportation

Posted: Updated:
Roberto Venegas-Fernandez Roberto Venegas-Fernandez
Michael Patrick McNaughton Michael Patrick McNaughton
FLORENCE, Ariz. -

An inmate was killed behind bars -- beaten to death by the man who shared his cell and now we're learning more about the motive behind the attack.

It turns out the suspect was about to be released and deported back to Mexico.

When detectives first arrived at the Florence Correctional Center, they found 55-year-old Michael Patrick McNaughton dead and his cell mate, 43-year-old Roberto Venegas-Fernandez nearby.

Initially, they thought the two were involved in a fight.

"It wasn't what appeared to be a fight at all, but a very deliberate intentional murder," said Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu.

Both inmates were being housed at the private prison for sex crimes.  They arrived on Friday, November 15th and by Saturday morning, Fernandez had strangled the victim to death.

"This was planned out in an effort to ensure that he would not leave the United States," said Babeu.

According to the Sheriff, Fernandez is an illegal immigrant and was approaching his release date.

"He told our detectives he liked three meals a day.  The jail guards were very nice to him and he was afraid that upon his release he would be deported back to Mexico.  He wanted to be sure that he wouldn't be deported back to Mexico," said Babeu.

And to be sure he would get the most serious charge, he also bit the victim's private area.

"He choose to freely speak to homicide investigators and readily admitted this.. why he did it," said Babeu.

Both inmates were prisoners of the U.S. Marshal's Service.  They were from the San Diego area.

The Florence Facility is operated by the Correctional Corporation of America, the largest private prison company in the U.S.  We reached out the private prison company Tuesday afternoon and never heard back.

The Pinal County Sheriff's Office is recommending that prosecutors charge Venegas-Fernandez with first-degree murder.

Didn't find what
you were looking for?

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Notes with swastikas and 'Uber' found in Brooklyn

    Notes with swastikas and 'Uber' found in Brooklyn

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 10:05 PM EDT2014-09-17 02:05:20 GMT
    The NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force is working to track down whoever posted dozens of stickers and fliers with swastikas and the word "Uber" in Brooklyn. The stickers and flyers filled with images of hate were placed outside a Jewish boys' school on Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn. A Shomrim safety patrol spotted the stickers on the sidewalk and in the gutters, police said.
    The NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force is working to track down whoever posted dozens of stickers and fliers with swastikas and the word "Uber" in Brooklyn. The stickers and flyers filled with images of hate were placed outside a Jewish boys' school on Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn. A Shomrim safety patrol spotted the stickers on the sidewalk and in the gutters, police said.
  • Bratton: Islamic State group threat expanding

    Bratton: Islamic State group threat expanding

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 8:43 PM EDT2014-09-17 00:43:17 GMT
    New York City has entered a "new era" of potential terror threats as hostilities between the United States and extremists from the Islamic State group intensify, Police Commissioner William Bratton said Tuesday. Bratton told reporters that there is no current information pointing to a specific threat against the city.
    New York City has entered a "new era" of potential terror threats as hostilities between the United States and extremists from the Islamic State group intensify, Police Commissioner William Bratton said Tuesday. Bratton told reporters that there is no current information pointing to a specific threat against the city.
  • High-fiving strangers in NYC

    High-fiving strangers in NYC

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 6:01 PM EDT2014-09-16 22:01:29 GMT
    Looking for a taxi cab is a common sight in the city. For some people, an outstretched arm is usually the sign for hailing a cab. A few other folks see it as something else.Meet Meir Kalmanson. He sees a hand in the air as an opportunity to lighten up a person's serious or frantic state. Meir decided to high-five his way down Fifth Avenue. The video of his rebellion of social norms has gone viral.
    Looking for a taxi cab is a common sight in the city. For some people, an outstretched arm is usually the sign for hailing a cab. A few other folks see it as something else.Meet Meir Kalmanson. He sees a hand in the air as an opportunity to lighten up a person's serious or frantic state. Meir decided to high-five his way down Fifth Avenue. The video of his rebellion of social norms has gone viral.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices