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Killer dubbed ‘a known Hannibal Lecter’ pleads guilty, gets 25 years

Records show that after Casey Pigge killed cellmate Luther Wade last year, he told investigators he’d kill again if placed with another inmate


This undated file photo provided by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction shows Casey Pigge, charged with the Feb. 1, 2017, strangulation death of fellow inmate David Johnson on a prison transport van, two days after Pigge pleaded guilty to the Feb. 23, 2016, beating death of cellmate Luther Wade.

Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction via AP, File

UPDATE 1:28 p.m. (CST):

CIRCLEVILLE, Ohio — A judge has sentenced an Ohio prison inmate to 25 years without parole for using a restraint chain to strangle a fellow inmate on a corrections transport van earlier this year.

Pickaway County Judge Randall Knece handed down the sentence to defendant Casey Pigge Wednesday afternoon.

The sentence came immediately after the 29-year-old Pigge pleaded guilty to killing inmate David Johnson in the van on Feb. 1 as it passed through Pickaway County south of Columbus.

Pigge went to prison in 2009 after he was convicted of fatally slitting the throat of his girlfriend’s mother the year before.

Records show that after Pigge killed cellmate Luther Wade last year, he told investigators he’d kill again if placed with another inmate.


By Andrew Welsh-Huggins
Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio — After Casey Pigge was taken into custody last year for using a brick to kill his cellmate by repeatedly smashing his head, he made one thing clear to investigators.

“Pigge denied any desire to be a serial killer, but could not promise that he wouldn’t kill again,” a prison social worker said after interviewing him.

On Feb. 1, just two days after pleading guilty to beating cellmate Luther Wade to death, Pigge was placed in a prison transport van with several other inmates.

As the bus headed south through Pickaway County in central Ohio, investigators say, Pigge used a chain meant to restrain him around the stomach to strangle inmate David Johnson.

“I guess you never seen that on a bus before,” Pigge boasted to the surviving inmates afterward, according to highway patrol records. Johnson was serving an eight-year sentence for sexual battery.

Pigge was scheduled to plead guilty Wednesday afternoon to killing Johnson and be immediately sentenced.

Any time in prison for Johnson’s death is moot: Pigge already is serving a life sentence for killing Wade and 30 years to life for fatally slitting the throat of his girlfriend’s mother in 2008. He gave himself the nickname “box cutter” after the weapon he used to kill her.

The state prisons system has not said why Pigge, with his record, was placed in a van with the ability to carry out the killing of Johnson. The state updated its prison transportation policies afterward but won’t release details.

“They definitely was not doing their job and monitoring us even with a known Hannibal Lecter with us,” according to a letter from an inmate on the bus that day that was sent afterward to prisons director Gary Mohr, as reported by the Dayton Daily News.

The state patrol’s SWAT unit was transporting Pigge to Wednesday’s hearing at the request of Pickaway County prosecutor Judy Wolford.

“He’s obviously a dangerous individual,” she said.

Pigge’s attorney, Steve Larson, declined to comment before the hearing.

Pigge, 29, feared Wade was a member of the Aryan Brotherhood who planned to kill him, records show. He’d been Wade’s cellmate at Lebanon Correctional Facility for one day when he talked him into being blindfolded as part of a card trick, then took a brick and brought it down again and again on Wade’s head.

Even before Wade’s killing, Pigge’s prison misconduct record ran nearly 30 pages. Over the years, he repeatedly refused to enter his cell, was found with homemade alcohol, collected contraband like razor blades, electric cords and a TV converter box and fought other inmates.

Records show Pigge was born to a 14-year-old girl who used drugs and alcohol while pregnant with him. Child protection authorities first intervened when he was just 7 days old, according to a 2009 evaluation after Pigge killed his girlfriend’s mother.

Pigge was burned with cigarettes as a toddler, forced as a child to urinate in a heating grate when his mother and stepfather locked him in a room, was possibly sexually abused, and was repeatedly abandoned, according to the report by psychologist Dennis Eshbaugh.

“I feel nobody ever liked me,” Pigge told the psychologist.

Pigge was placed in dozens of foster homes and hospitals over the years, and diagnosed with a mild mental disability. “In effect, the defendant is functionally a child in an adult body,” Eshbaugh said.