McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

January 31, 2014

Charged Again

CRIME WATCH: 'Bulldog' allegedly murders cellmate

By Trevor Dunbar
Staff Writer

ALDERSON — An Oklahoma State Penitentiary inmate with an extensive history has been charged with second-degree murder in connection with the death of his cell-mate last July, according to an affidavit filed Tuesday at the Pittsburg County Courthouse.

Mikell P. Smith, known by some behind the walls as “Bulldog”, stands accused of strangling Timothy Hale to death with a bed sheet in their shared cell, the affidavit states. Court records show the charge was the result of an investigation by Kathy R. Mordecai, an agent with the Oklahoma Department of Corrections Internal Affairs Unit.

Jerry Massey, public information officer for the Oklahoma DOC, said he felt the charge was deserved.

“We are glad the district attorney decided to file charges,” Massey said. “We thought it certainly warranted it.

Smith alleges he was fist fighting his cell-mate when Hale pulled out a razor and began cutting him with it, the affidavit states. Smith said he then struck Hale and he fell to the ground. He immediately jumped on Hale’s back and proceeded to choke him with the sheet until the man stopped fighting.

The affidavit states Smith said he believed Hale was only unconscious, so he bound his hands so that when he regained consciousness he wouldn’t be able to fight anymore in hopes his cell-mate would calm down. Smith said he never intended to kill Hale and waited some time for him to regain consciousness. When Hale failed to come to, the affidavit states Smith informed a correctional officer Hale needed medical attention.

The affidavit states Smith openly admitted to causing Hale’s death during an interview with Mordecai. Smith also told Mordecai OSP officials had asked both inmates day’s prior to Hale’s death if they could be housed together. Smith and Hale both agreed they had no problems being housed in the same cell, according to the affidavit.

However, the affidavit states Smith told Mordecai there had been “bad blood” between he and Hale for two or three years prior, though he would not go into detail about these problems. Smith said he and Hale agreed they would fight one another to settle the issues the two had with each other in the past. He said the two also agreed there would be no weapons involved and the problems would be settled regardless of the outcome of the fight, according to the affidavit.

Massey said it would not be uncommon for Smith and Hale to be housed together.

“Hale and Smith had similar backgrounds,” Massey said. “That’s something we certainly take into consideration.”

Smith’s violent tendencies are well documented. He has several previous convictions, including two murder convictions for which he is serving life without parole. In 1989, Smith was also convicted of stabbing an OSP correctional officer in the heart. The officer survived, but Smith was still sentenced to an additional 500 years in prison for that conviction.

Smith was originally sentenced to death in the 1985 murder of Moore resident Rick Patterson, a math teacher who had been kidnapped from a grocery store in Oklahoma City and killed for the use of his car.

However, that conviction was overturned in 1992 and a new trial was ordered. The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals determined jurors should not have been allowed to hear recordings of another defendant’s police interview.

In a plea agreement, Smith pled guilty to the Moore murder and was sentenced to life without parole.

In 1993, Smith was also charged with stabbing OSP inmate George Stidham to death. Following a trial in Pittsburg County District Court, Smith was found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to a second term of life without parole.

Hale was also serving a sentence of life without parole for a 1996 murder conviction in Pittsburg County, according to DOC records. He was convicted of killing his cell-mate Clifford Parsons following an argument. Hale had a record of approximately 19 felony charges including kidnapping, escape, burglary and armed robbery.

Contact Trevor Dunbat at tdunbar@mcalesternews.com.