MCALESTER — An inmate already serving a life sentence for a murder conviction was charged this week with the strangulation of a cellmate last year.
Mikell P. Smith, 48, was charged in Pittsburg County District Court with second-degree murder in the July 19 death of Timothy Hale, 43. Hale was strangled with a sheet.
The information filed in the case accuses Smith of improper conduct and “contemptuous and reckless disregard for the life and safety of Hale.”
Hale and Smith were cellmates at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester. Both were serving sentences of life without parole for first-degree murder convictions. Smith also is serving a second life sentence for murder in the death of another inmate and a 500-year sentence for the near-fatal stabbing of a corrections officer.
The investigation initially pointed to a struggle between the two men, warden's assistant Terry Crenshaw said.
Smith was transferred in the 1990s to a Washington state prison. He was on death row at one point, but that sentence was overturned on appeal.
Smith's original sentence was for the murder of a Moore math teacher in 1985.