Nebraska inmate pleads guilty in death penalty murder case
Jul. 29, 2017
TECUMSEH, Neb. (AP) — A Nebraska inmate accused of strangling his cellmate and could face the death penalty has fired his attorneys and pleaded guilty to first-degree murder.
Patrick Schroeder, 40, made the moves Friday in court, telling a judge that he plans to represent himself and drop his legal challenges to the death penalty, the Lincoln Journal Star reported .
Schroeder is charged in the April death of Terry Berry Jr., 22, who was serving a three- to four-year sentence for felony forgery and a jail assault conviction from Platte County. Berry would have been up for parole in May and, if parole had been denied, would have been released in December.
Prosecutors said Friday during the hearing that Schroeder and Berry had been sharing a cell for less than a week when Berry was killed.
Schroeder told officials that on the night of April 15, Berry was talking incessantly about a TV show they were watching, so Schroeder locked Berry in a chokehold "for about five minutes, until my arm got tired," Assistant Nebraska Attorney General Doug Warner recounted.
Schroder then got a towel, twisted it and choked Berry with it, Warner said. Berry was later found unconscious in the cell by prison staff. He died in a hospital five days later.
Asked by the judge if he had done those things, Schroeder answered, "Yes."
Schroeder is already serving a life sentence for the 2006 killing of 75-year-old Pawnee City farmer Kenneth Albers, whose body was found at the bottom of a well.
This story has been corrected to show Berry did not die on April 15. He was attacked on April 15, but died several days later.
Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, http://www.journalstar.com