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Police: Man murdered by cellmate

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Posted at 8:06 PM, Jun 27, 2012
and last updated 2015-08-07 08:17:58-04

Maryland State Police are investigating the apparent murder of a state inmate that was found dead in his cell early this morning at the Jessup Correctional Institution.

Robert J. Tunnell, 21, was serving six years for a sex offense, but police say he was killed with a shoe lace this morning.

A suspect has been identified as Tunnell's cellmate. His name has not yet been release as charges against him are pending and he remains in custody.

The preliminary investigation indicates that at about 2:00 a.m. today, a correctional officer was making routine rounds in an area that is used often to temporarily houses inmates from other institutions prior to court appearances.

When he reached the cell that occupied Tunnell and suspect, the suspect made statements to the officer that prompted him to initiate an emergency response by staff and enter the cell.

Tunnell was found unresponsive in the cell.

Investigators found signs that Tunnell had sustained trauma to his body and had what appeared to be a shoe string around his neck.