Shaw: Inmate Charged with Murder for Prison Killing

Lawrence Edward Peterson Jr. (Provided photo)
Lawrence Edward Peterson Jr. (Provided photo)

Lawrence Edward Peterson Jr. (Provided photo)

CLEARFIELD –An inmate from the State Correctional Institution at Houtzdale has been charged with the murder of another inmate, announced Clearfield County District Attorney William A. Shaw Jr. today.

Shaw identified the defendant as Lawrence Edward Peterson Jr., 44, of Easton. On June 10, Trooper David Patrick of the Clearfield-based state police filed a criminal complaint against Peterson.

Peterson has been charged with criminal homicide; murder of the first-degree; murder of the third-degree; aggravated assault; involuntary manslaughter; and recklessly endangering another person.

According to the affidavit of probable cause, on Aug. 2, 2013, prison employees responded to Cell No. 42 on the B-Side of the F-Unit. Inmates were allegedly yelling that another inmate was killing his cellmate.

Upon arrival employees observed inmate William Keitel, 59, of Shenandoah lying on the cell floor; he was “bleeding profusely” from his head and face. Staff observed that the cell was in disarray with blood on the floor and sink.

Upon investigation it was determined that Peterson had allegedly assaulted Keitel by striking him in the head and face several times with his fists. Peterson also allegedly kicked Keitel in the head, face and shoulder areas, as well as other areas of his body numerous times.

Keitel was transported to the Altoona General Hospital for treatment where he was placed in the intensive care/trauma unit. Keitel was treated for traumatic head injuries, skull and rib fractures, lacerations, contusions and abrasions. Neurologic exams revealed traumatic brain injury and unresponsiveness. Keitel was declared brain dead on Aug. 11, 2013.

Peterson was arraigned today by Magisterial District Judge James Hawkins, and a preliminary hearing is scheduled for July 21. Shaw stated that Peterson is currently serving a sentence of 40 to 80 years for a robbery involving serious bodily injury.

Shaw thanked the Pennsylvania State Police and the staff at the SCI Houtzdale for their hard work and assistance with this case.

Anyone with knowledge of a crime is asked to call Clearfield County Crime Stoppers at 800-376-4700. All calls to Crime Stoppers are confidential.

Anonymous tips can also be submitted by visiting the Clearfield County District Attorney Web site at “www.ClearfieldDA.org” and selecting “Report A Crime.”

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