Shelby County inmate pleads not guilty of murder in slaying of fellow inmate

Published: Tuesday, January 22, 2019 @ 1:56 PM
Updated: Thursday, February 14, 2019 @ 8:35 PM

James Richards, left, and Peter Stokes
James Richards, left, and Peter Stokes

UPDATE @ 8:20 p.m. (Feb. 14): Inmate Peter Stokes pleaded not guilty Thursday on a murder charge in the slaying of fellow Shelby County Jail inmate James Richards.

Common Pleas Judge James Stevenson set bond at $100,000 cash.

UPDATE @ 6:25 p.m. (Feb. 1):

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A grand jury has officially indicted an inmate Friday accused of killing another inmate in the Shelby County Jail. 

Deputies said inmates James Richards and Peter Stokes fought last month. 

Richards suffered head injuries and died the day after the fight. 

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Stokes could get 15 years to life in prison if he’s convicted of murder. Arraignment is set for Feb. 14. 

FIRST REPORT

The death of a Shelby County Jail inmate following a fight last week has been ruled a homicide and charges are expected to be presented to a grand jury.

James Richards, 55, of Sidney, died from blunt force trauma to the head and the dissection of the right vertebral artery, which is a main artery in the neck, according to the coroner’s office.

RELATED: Shelby County Jail inmate dies after suffering critical injuries in fight

Richards, left in the picture shown with this article, died Saturday afternoon. He had been taken to Miami Valley Hospital following the Friday fight.

The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office said Richards asked to be let out of the jail pod in which he was held. After a corrections officer let Richards out of the pod, the 55-year-old walked over to a door and said something to another inmate, investigators said.

Deputies said at that time another inmate, Peter Stokes, right in the picture shown, went to Richards and began punching him.

Corrections officers separated the men.

Richards was in jail on felony domestic violence charges. Stokes was in jail for failing to provide a change of address.

No formal charges have been approved in the homicide investigation.