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Fight Among 4 Convicts Leaves 1 Dead in McAlester Prison

Don Mecoy Published: April 4, 1991

McALESTER A fight Tuesday at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary among four "old-time convicts" left one inmate dead, one injured and two in administrative segregation, prison officials said Wednesday.

The inmates, all convicted killers who have spent much of their lives behind bars, began fighting apparently after a disagreement over a drug deal, said prison spokeswoman Linda Morgan.

"On information we've received, it was possibly over drugs; either a drug deal that didn't work out or someone didn't get what he wanted," Morgan said.

Jimmy Blevins, 41, was pronounced dead at 6:55 p.m. Tuesday after he was stuck several times in the head with a metal pipe taken from a mop bucket, Morgan said.

Blevins was only the second inmate at the maximum-security prison to die at the hands of a fellow convict since corrections officials began locking down penitentiary inmates 23 hours a day in 1986.

Tom Lester Pugh, 54, was struck on the arm and face during the fight and may require surgery to repair a serious eye injury, Morgan said.

Prison officials placed Tony Kim Welty, 38, and Kenneth Funkhouser, 37, in segregated housing. Both could face administrative and criminal charges, Morgan said.

Morgan said the fight began when Pugh confronted Welty and blows were exchanged. Blevins apparently came to Pugh's defense and was confronted by Funkhouser, who told Blevins to stay out of the argument, Morgan said.

A corrections officer who saw the disturbance began to intervene, but was told by Funkhouser to back off, Morgan said. When the officer returned with other staff members, they saw Welty strike Blevins several times in the head with the metal pipe, she said.

Officers found a 10-inch homemade knife in Blevins' waistband, which he apparently had no chance to draw during the fight, Morgan said.

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