Inmate avoids potential death penalty sentence in cellmate’s beating

Low IQ prevents prosecutors from seeking death penalty in Springfield man’s killing.

An inmate’s low IQ prevented prosecutors from seeking the death penalty against him in connection with the beating death of a Springfield man with whom he shared a cell in February, Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell said Monday.

Casey Pigge, 28, was indicted Monday on two counts of aggravated murder, as well as possession of a deadly weapon while under detention by a grand jury in Warren County.

Pigge is accused of “carving mortar out of his cell wall” to free a concrete block from the wall of a cell at Lebanon Correctional Institution on Feb. 23 and striking Luther Wade, 26, of Springfield, with it repeatedly in the head.

At most, Pigge, already serving 30 years to life in prison, faces a sentence of life in prison without parole.

Capital murder charges were dismissed against Pigge in 2009 — before his conviction for murder, aggravated arson and tampering with evidence in Ross County — after a prosecution expert rated his IQ below 70, disqualifying him under current death penalty law, Fornshell said.

Wade was committed to state prison on March 30, 2015, for aggravated burglary in Springfield. He was sentenced to 10 years, according to prison records.

Wade and Pigge had been in a “segregation cell” together for about a day, according to investigators.

Contrary to initial reports, investigators said there was no evidence Wade and Pigge were in a fight.

Wade’s family has questioned why he was placed in a cell with Pigge, who investigators said was apparently moved to the alleged murder by drugs he was on at the time of the incident.

Prison officials have declined to comment.

Pigge has been transferred to the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville. He is scheduled for arraignment on Wednesday, July 6, in Warren County Common Pleas Court.

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