The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

April 18, 2013

Inmate admits involvement in 2005 murder at Allenwood Penitentiary

The Daily Item

— HARRISBURG — A second man has avoided the possibility of the death penalty by admitting he killed a fellow inmate at the Allenwood Federal Penitentiary in 2005.

Ritz Williams, 32, of Arizona, pleaded guilty Monday in U.S. Middle District Court to a charge of first-degree murder. His plea agreement requires a sentence of life in prison without parole.

A co-defendant, Shawn Cooya, 33, formerly of White River, Ariz., entered the same plea agreement with the government earlier this year and has been sentenced to life in prison.

The two admitted they murdered Alvin Allery by stabbing and kicking him in a corridor at the maximum-security prison on Sept. 28, 2005. The attack was caught on video.

The government was prepared to seek the death penalty for Williams until he agreed to a sentence that would ensure he would never get out of prison.

Jury selection, which was expected to take at least a month, was scheduled to begin Tuesday.

Besides the sentence, the plea agreement signed by Williams prevents him from appealing his plea or his sentence. He is serving a 15-year term imposed in 2002 on charges related to another death.

He is to be sentenced on the murder charge on May 15.

The murder was the second altercation that day in 2005 involving homemade knives.

In the other attack, Calvin J. Nez, Clifton N. Hamalowa and Dustin A. Denney pleaded guilty to a charge of assault with a dangerous weapon.

Nez and Hamalowa each were sentenced in 2010 to additional 63 months in prison and Denney to another 77 months.

Hamalowa also was fined $1,000 because in 2006 he received between $10,000 and $12,000 in royalties from a casino his tribe operates in Arizona.

The victim in that case, Jason Maloney, required hospital treatment for stab wounds. He subsequently was transferred to a halfway house in Arizona and became a fugitive when he walked away.