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Press Release

Pennslyvania Inmate Sentenced to Life in Prison
for Violent Murder of Fellow Inmate

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

A federal inmate was sentenced today to life in prison for the violent murder of a fellow inmate in Pennsylvania’s Allenwood Correctional Complex, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania Peter J. Smith.

Ritz D. Williams Jr., 32, of Gila River Indian Reservation, Sacaton, Ariz., pleaded guilty to one count of first degree murder and possession of a weapon on April 15, 2013.  U.S. District Court Judge Yvette Kane sentenced Williams to life without the possibility of parole on May 15, 2013, for his role in the murder of fellow inmate Alvin Allery.

Williams and his co-conspirator Shawn Cooya were indicted by a federal grand jury in February 2008 and a superseding indictment was returned in July 2009.

According to court documents, Williams and Cooya aided each other in the premeditated murder of Allery.  On Sept. 28, 2005, Williams and Cooya stabbed Allery 10 times with a homemade knife and repeatedly kicked him in the head and torso, which resulted in Allery’s death. 

On Jan. 8, 2013, Cooya pleaded guilty to one count of first degree murder and was sentenced to serve life in prison on March 18, 2013.

The case was investigated by the Bureau of Prisons and the FBI. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Wayne P. Samuelson and Michelle Olshefski of the Middle District of Pennsylvania, Trial Attorneys Julie B. Mosley and Mike Warbel of the Criminal Division’s Capital Case Unit, and Assistant U.S. Attorney C.J. Williams of the Northern District of Iowa and formerly with the Capital Case Unit.

Updated September 15, 2014

Press Release Number: 13-561