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Federal Inmate Sentenced to Life in Prison for Murder and Attempted Murder of Fellow Inmates at the Terre Haute Federal Penitentiary

— January 24, 2024

In an interview with FBI agents, Hamrick admitted to planning to attack Neal and Warren in advance.

TERRE HAUTE – Rodney Curtis Hamrick, 58, a federal inmate formerly housed at the United States Penitentiary, in the Terre Haute Federal Correctional Complex, has been sentenced to life in federal prison after pleading guilty to first degree murder and assault with intent to commit murder.

According to court documents, Rodney Hamrick, Richard Warren, and Robert Neal were all inmates housed within the Communications Management Unit of the U.S. Penitentiary at the Terre Haute, Indiana, Federal Correctional Complex. On November 10, 2018, Warren notified a prison officer that he had been stabbed and assaulted in his cell by Hamrick. Officers secured Hamrick and confiscated a homemade weapon resembling an icepick used to stab Warren.

Inside Hamrick’s cell, Officers also found inmate Robert Neal covered in a sheet with a pillowcase tied over his face and neck, his hands bound behind his back, and multiple puncture wounds in his chest. Neal had no pulse and was later confirmed by medical staff to be dead. The official autopsy noted eleven stab wounds to Neal’s chest, but the ultimate cause of death was strangulation.

In an interview with FBI agents, Hamrick admitted to planning to attack Neal and Warren in advance. Hamrick lured Neal into his cell to help with legal paperwork, then binding him and strangling him with a cord. When the cord broke, Hamrick strangled Neal to death with his bare hands. Hamrick then stabbed Neal multiple times to ensure he was dead. Neal was 68-years-old when Hamrick murdered him.

Hamrick then entered Warren’s cell and immediately attacked him, grabbing Warren from behind and stabbing him in the neck. Warren was able to escape Hamrick’s grasp and protect himself from further stabs until another inmate arrived and Hamrick left Warren’s cell.

Ice pick. Image via Flickr/user:Alan Levine. (CCA-BY-2.0).

At the time he committed these crimes, Hamrick was serving a life sentence imposed in 2007 by the Eastern District of Virginia for using a destructive device in an attempted crime of violence. This sentence was imposed following seven prior federal convictions for offenses including violent threats against public officials and federal buildings, attempted escape, and multiple offenses involving manufacturing and mailing destructive devices—some of which detonated and injured others. After Hamrick murdered Neal and attempted to murder Warren, the Bureau of Prisons transferred Hamrick from Terre Haute to the ADMAX administrative security U.S. Penitentiary in Florence, Colorado.

“It is clear from Rodney Hamrick’s lifelong pattern of violent crime, culminating the horrific attacks he perpetrated in the Terre Haute prison, that he should never live another day outside of federal prison,” said Zachary A. Myers, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana. “I commend the diligent work of the FBI and our federal prosecutors to hold this defendant accountable. I sincerely hope that the completion of this prosecution brings some measure of closure and peace to Mr. Neal’s family and the surviving victim.”

FBI investigated this case. The sentence was imposed by U.S. District Court Judge James P. Hanlon.

U.S. Attorney Myers thanked Assistant United States Attorneys Jayson W. McGrath and William L. McCoskey, who prosecuted this case.

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