Federal inmate Kevin Marquette Bellinger, a former resident of Washington, D.C., and an inmate at the United States Penitentiary in Hazelton, West Virginia, was convicted this week for the murder of another inmate after a 5-day federal jury trial before U.S. District Judge Irene M. Keeley of the Northern District of West Virginia.
Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and United States Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld, II, for the Northern District of West Virginia made the announcement.
Bellinger was convicted by a federal jury on June 16, 2014, on one count of murder by a federal prisoner serving a life sentence and one count of second degree murder in a federal facility for his role in the Oct. 7, 2007, murder of inmate Jesse Harris.
According to evidence presented at trial, during a move of inmates from the recreation yard back to their cells, Bellinger and a co-defendant left the yard ahead of the others and traveled to an intersection of two corridors in the prison facility, where they confronted Harris and stabbed him with shanks in an orchestrated attack. In less than a minute, an officer approached, and the attackers fled. Officers apprehended Bellinger after a short pursuit, but they did not recover his weapon. Surveillance footage of the attack showed Bellinger and his co-defendant engaged in a verbal exchange with Harris, followed by the two attackers wielding weapons and physically assaulting Harris, who was unarmed and backing away from them.
At the time of the murder, Bellinger was serving a life sentence for an assault with intent to kill that took place in 2000, and his co-defendant was serving a life sentence for two separate homicides that took place in 1997 and 2000.
Bellinger, who is in custody pending sentencing, faces a mandatory penalty of life in prison for his conviction of murder by a federal prisoner serving a life sentence and a term of years up to life imprisonment for his conviction of second degree murder.
This case was investigated by the FBI and the U.S. Bureau of Prisons. The case was prosecuted by Trial Attorney Richard Burns from the Capital Case Section of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Brandon Flower.