Two Warren County inmates charged with murder

Two prison inmates were indicted Monday on murder and involuntary manslaughter charges in connection with the April killing of another inmate at Lebanon Correctional Institution.

Kyle L. “40” McClendon, 34, and Joseph M. “Bama” Collins Jr., 33, also are charged with extortion and felonious assault.

Paul Thebeau III, 32, died April 10 at the prison, one of two prisons outside Lebanon, according to the Warren County Coroner’s Office.

Thebeau owed some money to McClendon and several other inmates, according to Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell.

“He had been warned on multiple occasions,” Fornshell. “It was ‘pay your debts or take your beating.’”

“It wasn’t even as if there was bad will between these guys,” the prosecutor added.

Thebeau died from a brain injury, apparently from his head hitting the floor.

He was pronounced dead on arrival at Atrium Medical Center in Middletown.

Neither will face the death penalty.

“We do believe they did not intend to kill him,” Fornshell said.

McClendon is now being held in the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Marion on a life sentence for murder, possession of firearms in a motor vehicle and carrying a concealed weapon. He has been in prison since July 2009 on a Montgomery County case, according to prison records.

Collins is at the Marion prison, serving a 17-year sentence for attempted murder and possession of a weapon under disability in a 2018 Cuyahoga County case.

Their arraignments had not been scheduled on Monday.

In April 2014, Thebeau was sentenced to 14 years in prison for aggravated robbery and intimidating a witness in an incident sparked by a break-in over missing cigarettes, according to Ottawa County court records and a series of reports in the Port Clinton News Herald.

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