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Press Release

Prisoner Pleads Guilty to Manslaughter

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Louisiana

ALEXANDRIA, La. – United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced today that a prisoner at the U.S. Penitentiary in Pollock, La., pleaded guilty to his role in the strangling death of a fellow inmate.

Refugio Sanchez, 36, a prisoner at Pollock Penitentiary, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Dee D. Drell to one count of voluntary manslaughter. According to evidence presented at the guilty plea, Sanchez and fellow inmates, Benito Flores and the victim, were assigned to a Special Housing Unit (SHU) on March 12, 2008. Penitentiary guards found Sanchez and Flores with the victim who was lying unconscious on the floor of the SHU. The inmate was transported to a hospital where he was pronounced dead. An autopsy found that the victim died of strangulation. In conjunction with physical and forensic evidence that was presented at the guilty plea hearing, Sanchez issued a written statement wherein he admitted to unlawfully killing the victim during a heated argument.

The defendant faces up to 15 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine. A sentencing date of June 11, 2015 was set.

The FBI and the U.S. Bureau of Prisons conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Earl M. Campbell prosecuted the case.

Updated February 26, 2015