2 federal inmates sentenced to death for prison murder

Published 2:24 pm Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Special to The News

WASHINGTON — Two federal inmates convicted of killing a third inmate at a Beaumont prison in the Eastern District of Texas were sentenced to death Wednesday.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Acting Assistant Attorney General John P. Cronan of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Joseph D. Brown for the Eastern District of Texas made the announcement.

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Ricky Fackrell, 34, of Vernal, Utah, and Christopher Cramer, 36, of Ogden, Utah, were indicted by a federal grand jury on March 3, 2016 and charged with murder and conspiracy to commit murder.  They were both convicted by a federal jury of murder in the first degree on May 9, following a six-day trial before U.S. District Judge Marcia Crone.

After about eight hours of deliberation, the jury in Beaumont on Wednesday sentenced both Fackrell and Cramer to death.  Crone immediately sentenced the defendants accordingly.

“White supremacists subscribe to a repugnant, hateful ideology and use it to justify criminal activity,” Attorney General Sessions said.  “The murder committed in this case was an act of senseless, barbaric violence. Now that the jury has spoken, justice will be done.

“I want to thank our fabulous prosecutors John Craft, Joseph Batte, and Sonia Jimenez for their hard work. With their help, this department will continue to prosecute violent criminals with the aggressiveness and relentlessness necessary in cases like these.”

“These defendants had a violent history, and when the murder happens in a prison, it is clear that the defendants are always going to be a danger,” Brown said.  “This was an appropriate case for the death penalty and we will continue to seek that punishment in the worst cases.”

According to information presented in court, beginning in March 2014, Cramer and Fackrell, inmates of the U.S. Penitentiary in Beaumont conspired to murder fellow inmate Leo Johns.  On June 9, 2014, Cramer and Fackrell stabbed Leo Johns to death at the federal prison. All three inmates were members of the white supremacy group, Soldiers of the Aryan Culture.

FBI and the U.S. Bureau of Prisons Special Investigative Services investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys John Craft and Joseph R. Batte of the Eastern District of Texas and Trial Attorney Sonia V. Jimenez of the Justice Department’s Capital Case Section prosecuted it.