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Mich. prisoner charged with murdering cellmate, stabbing another

Michael Ketchum, 45, hogtied, strangled and stabbed to death his cellmate and stabbed another inmate in the head and neck during breakfast


By Jameson Cook
Voice News, New Baltimore, Mich.

NEW BALTIMORE, Mich. — A man already serving sentences for two attempted murders is accused of killing his cellmate and injuring another inmate in the Macomb County prison.

Michael Ketchum, 45, was arraigned Monday in 42-II District Court in New Baltimore on charges of first-degree murder, attempted murder and prisoner in possession of a weapon for his alleged Oct. 18 attacks in Macomb Correctional Facility in Lenox Township, according to Macomb County Prosecutor Peter Lucido.

Ketchum went to breakfast and then stabbed an inmate eight times in the head and neck, Lucido says. State officials said in October Ketchum was on his way back to his cell following breakfast. Officers then went to his cell where they discovered Ketchum’s cellmate hogtied, strangled and stabbed to death underneath his bed, Lucido says. Staff attempted life-saving measures, but he was pronounced dead.

A sharpened object was used as a weapon in the attack, according to Lucido’s office.

Corrections officials did not provide a motive immediately following the incidents.

The victim was not identified.

The prisoner who was attacked prior to the discovery of Ketchum’s cellmate was treated for his injuries.

It was the second killing at the prison this year. In May, 26-year-old Martell Lawaun Smith died at the hands of another prisoner. Smith, a resident of Detroit, was serving time for second-degree murder. A Michigan Department of Corrections spokesman could not be immediately reached Tuesday about the status of that investigation.

About three weeks ago, MDOC officials learned a rap video was filmed in the prison and shown on YouTube, prompting officials to segregate two inmates. Also, in October it was learned the former warden, George Stephenson, had been banned from prison property, pending an undisclosed investigation that was unrelated to the video, according to a media report.

The recent alleged attack by Ketchum is at least the second and third of his alleged assaults on other prisoners.

Ketchum in 2019 attacked a fellow prisoner in Saginaw County, was convicted of attempted murder and sentenced to 44 years in prison in 2021, according to Michigan Department of Corrections records. At that time, he was imprisoned for an incident 12 years earlier for which he was convicted of attempted murder in Kalamazoo County Circuit Court, records say. That attack occurred while he was facing armed robbery and methamphetamine charges in Kalamazoo. It was not clear if he was being held in a county jail at the time or free on bond. In December 2009, he was sentenced for the multiple incidents — 28 years for attempted murder, 20 years for armed robbery and eight years for operating a meth lab, records say.

Ketchum, who is now being held in Ionia Correctional Facility, faces a Jan. 4 probable-cause conference and Jan. 11 preliminary examination in district court.


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