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Press Release

Federal Indictment Charges Former Thomson Penitentiary Inmate With Murder in Connection With Death of Fellow Inmate

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Illinois

ROCKFORD — A former inmate at the United States Penitentiary in Thomson, Ill., has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Rockford in connection with the death of his cellmate. 

JAVIER GONZALEZ-VALENZUELA, 47, of Sonora, Mexico, is charged with second-degree murder and assault in connection with the Feb. 28, 2021, death of Shay Paniry, according to an indictment unsealed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Rockford.  Gonzalez-Valenzuela, who was Paniry’s cellmate at the time of the murder, was later released from Thomson but remained in law enforcement custody on an unrelated charge.  He pleaded not guilty Tuesday to the new charges and was ordered to remain detained in federal custody.

The indictment was announced by Morris Pasqual, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and Robert W. “Wes” Wheeler, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Office of the FBI.  The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Vincenza L. Tomlinson and Cassandra L. Quaglia.

The public is reminded that an indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt.  The defendant is presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

The maximum sentence for the murder charge is life imprisonment, while the maximum for the assault charge is ten years.  If convicted, the Court must impose reasonable sentences under federal sentencing statutes and the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.

Updated May 26, 2023

Violent Crime