Md. Inmate Gets 30 Years for Cellmate’s Murder

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CUMBERLAND, Md. — A Maryland prison inmate is getting 30 years added to his sentence for killing his cellmate at the maximum-security North Branch Correctional Institution near Cumberland.

Forty-four-year-old Vernon Lee Cowan was sentenced after pleading guilty Tuesday to second-degree murder in Allegany County Circuit Court. He had been charged with first-degree murder in the slaying of 51-year-old Ricky Bailey in February 2013.

Bailey died of blunt force injuries and wounds from a razor blade.

Prosecutors say Cowan killed Bailey because he wanted a single cell. The men had recently been assigned as cellmates.

Cowan had been serving a 60-year sentence for killing his girlfriend, Whitney Bass, in Waterbury, Conn., in 2008. He was transferred to Maryland under an interstate prisoner agreement.

Bailey was serving a life sentence for a Baltimore County rape.

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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