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Federal Inmates Charged with Murdering Beaumont Prisoner
BEAUMONT, Texas –A federal grand jury has returned an indictment charging two federal inmates with murdering another prisoner in the Eastern District of Texas announced U.S. Attorney John M. Bales today.
Harry Lee Napper, 35, and James Sweeney, 34, both of Baltimore, MD, were indicted on May 4, 2011, and charged with first degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder and second degree murder.
According to the indictment, on Feb. 12, 2008, Bureau of Prisons officials at the U.S. Penitentiary in Beaumont (USP-Beaumont) discovered the body of a 29-year-old inmate, Ronald Joseph, in his cell. An autopsy showed that Joseph died from asphyxia due to ligature strangulation or compression of the neck. Further investigation identified Napper and Sweeney, both inmates at USP-Beaumont, as suspects in the murder.
If convicted of first degree murder, Napper and Sweeney could receive the death penalty.
This case is being investigated by the Bureau of Prisons and the FBI and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Antonetta Stancu.
A grand jury indictment is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.