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Prisoner found guilty of killing fellow inmate in SW Va.

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WISE, Va. — A Southwest Virginia prison inmate has been found guilty of second-degree murder in the death of a fellow inmate, the Wise County commonwealth’s attorney said Friday.

William A. Saunders, 52, was also convicted by a Wise County jury this week of strangulation of Donald Wayne Gary, who died in May 2018. The two men were inmates at Wallens Ridge State Prison.

On May 18, 2018, Saunders attacked his cellmate, Commonwealth’s Attorney Chuck Slemp said. During the investigation, Saunders admitted to weaponizing a pair of pants and using them to strangle the victim, Slemp said.

Investigators said a pair of burgundy pants was found tightly wrapped around Gary’s neck, and the medical examiner confirmed that Gary died from asphyxia due to strangulation and that the internal injuries he suffered were severe.

Saunders remains in custody at Red Onion State Prison.


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