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Federal inmate sentenced to life in prison for murder of fellow inmate at Terre Haute Federal Penitentiary

A federal inmate who pled guilty to killing a fellow inmate and attempting to kill another at the Terre Haute Federal Penitentiary has been sentenced to life in prison, according to the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Indiana.

Robert Hamrick, 58, was already serving a life sentence since 2007 that was handed down by the Eastern District of Virginia for using a destructive device in an attempted crime of violence.

Federal prosecutors say that Hamrick had seven prior federal convictions for offenses including violent threats against public officials and federal buildings, attempted escape, and multiple offenses involving manufacturing and mailing destructive devices—some of which detonated and injured others.

According to federal prosecutors, on Nov. 10, 2018, fellow inmate Richard Warren alerted a prison officer that he was stabbed and assaulted in his cell by Hamrick.

Jailers located Hamrick and confiscated a homemade weapon resembling an icepick. When officers entered his cell, they found another inmate, Robert Neal, covered in a sheet with a pillowcase over his face and neck, his hands bound behind his back, and multiple puncture wounds in his chest. Neal was declared dead by medical staff.

Federal prosecutors say an autopsy found eleven stab wounds, but the death was caused by strangulation. He was 68 at the time of the murder.

According to federal prosecutors, Hamrick admitted to FBI agents that he planned the attack on the two inmates. He said he lured Neal into his cell to help with legal paperwork and then used a cord to strangle him.

When the cord broke, Hamrick said he used his hands to strangle Neal to death. To make sure that Neal was dead, Hamrick admitted to stabbing him multiple times.

He then entered Warren’s cell and stabbed him from behind in the neck. Warren escaped Hamrick’s grasp and Hamrick left the cell.

“It is clear from Rodney Hamrick’s lifelong pattern of violent crime, culminating the horrific attacks he perpetrated in the Terre Haute prison, that he should never live another day outside of federal prison,” said Zachary A. Myers, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana. 

After the murder and attempted murder, the Bureau of Prisons transferred Hamrick from Terre Haute to the ADMAX administrative security U.S. Penitentiary in Florence, Colorado.