Inmate sentenced to life in prison for SCI-Somerset murder

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Dec. 4—SOMERSET, Pa. — A Pennsylvania state prison inmate was handed two life sentences in Somerset County court on Friday for killing his cellmate at SCI-Somerset in 2018.

Judge Scott P. Bittner sentenced Dale Michael Wakefield, 29, to life in prison for first-degree murder and life in prison for assault by a life prisoner.

A jury on Aug. 18 found Wakefield guilty of murdering 25-year-old Joshua Perry.

Prosecutors said Wakefield tortured Perry, tying him up with a piece of a bedsheet and partially removing his ear before stuffing the body under the bunk of their cell.

Wakefield, who represented himself, sat in the courtroom Wednesday alongside chief public defender Tiffany Stanley, who served as stand-by attorney.

“I'm sorry this happened,” Wakefield said, turning to Perry's family sitting in the front row. One family member told the judge how the murder impacted the family.

Wakefield addressed the court, telling the judge he would rather be executed than spend his life in prison.

Senior Deputy Attorney General Patrick Schulte said after the proceeding that the death penalty was discussed with Perry's family.

“We did not feel like it was worth it, putting the family through all the appeals that are associated with the death penalty,” Schulte said.

Wakefield never confessed to killing Perry. During the trial, Wakefield maintained there was no proof a murder was committed.

“As you could hear in court, he's still not admitting he did anything wrong,” Schulte said.

“It's a tragic case,” Deputy Attorney General Evan Lowry said after sentencing.

“We definitely feel for the family. We are glad that some justice was served. We hope the family is able to move forward as best they can.”

Wakefield, who is now being housed in SCI-Greene, is already serving a life sentence for the 2013 death of a 71-year-old homeless man.

Investigators said Wakefield used a pocketknife to stab Army veteran George Mohr more than 70 times in a Bucks County bus shelter.

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