Slain Pen inmate was ambushed and stabbed nearly 30 times

August 17, 1993|By Michael James | Michael James,Staff Writer

A 31-year-old inmate at the Maryland Penitentiary was slain Saturday when he was stabbed nearly 30 times in an ambush attack in the prison's weight-lifting room, correctional officials reported yesterday.

Johnny "Bumblebee" White, who had served nearly 3 1/2 years of a 20-year sentence for robbery with a deadly weapon and a handgun violation, staggered out of the weight room about 1:15 p.m. and collapsed, said Cpl. J. Scott McCauley, a spokesman for the state Division of Correction.

White was pronounced dead at Johns Hopkins Hospital about 40 minutes later of multiple stab wounds. Correction officials said the inmate was probably attacked by at least two men. "It looks like there were two weapons used, possibly a knife and an ice pick," Corporal McCauley said. "There were close to 30 wounds so it's likely he was attacked by more than one person."

No weapons have been found and no suspects have been identified, although "we anticipate we will be developing information as to who the culprits are," Corporal McCauley said. "He [White] was seen at morning recreation by the staff and he appeared to be OK. There was no indication anything was going to happen," Corporal McCauley said.

White had been transferred to the Maryland Penitentiary, located in the 900 block of Forrest St. in Baltimore, just 14 hours before the fatal attack, corrections officials said.

He had previously been housed at the Maryland Correctional Adjustment Center, known as Supermax, where the state's most dangerous criminals are held as well as inmates with disciplinary problems, Corporal McCauley said.

White's brother, Gregory Mitchell, said his brother had been assigned to Supermax after being involved in a fight in November 1991 at the Maryland House of Correction in Jessup. Gregory Mitchell said his brother, who had lived in the 1100 block of N. Mount St. in West Baltimore, was sentenced to prison in March 1990 for robbing someone on the street. "He was a nice individual who had some problems," Gregory Mitchell said. "He didn't deserve this. They broke both his arms, beat his face and stabbed him over and over. A dog don't deserve that."

At the time of the attack, prison officials were hosting a youth event in an auditorium on the opposite side of the penitentiary, which was attended by Commissioner of Correction Richard A. Lanham Sr.

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