Md. inmate charged with killing cellmate while serving sentence for stabbing woman to death

An inmate who was convicted of fatally stabbing a woman over heroin is now charged with killing his cellmate


Phil Davis
The Capital, Annapolis, Md.

A Glen Burnie man who was convicted of stabbing a woman to death over heroin is now charged with killing his cellmate in November.

Joseph Patrick Soule, 29, was indicted on first-degree murder and weapons charges after investigators at the Jessup Correctional Institution said they found his cellmate — David Issac Stephenson, 45, of Carroll County — dead inside the cell on Nov. 2.

Soule was serving a 30-year sentence at the maximum security prison after he was convicted of second-degree murder in the 2014 stabbing death of Christie Lynn Pelland. Prosecutors said Pelland was Soule’s heroin dealer and he stabbed her 66 times over the drug.

Charging documents describe a gruesome scene where Stephenson — who The Frederick News-Post reported was serving a 20-year sentence for sexually abusing two boys — was found “lying face down in a pool of his blood on the floor to the cell.”

“When nurses responded to the cell, they told investigators that Stephenson’s body was already cold, and they noted that he had been bound by electrical cord tied around his neck, hands, and feet,” charging documents state.

Corrections officers at first did not know Stephenson was dead inside the cell, charging documents state, as they first were investigating Soule’s cell because the window had been covered during the evening, which is against the facility’s policy.

Initially, Soule told the investigating officers that nothing was wrong, charging documents state, but he wouldn’t move “the object blocking their view inside of the cell.”

It wasn’t until after officers entered the cell they found Stephenson dead. Charging documents state that Stephenson was alive “during previous checks” of the cell, but does not state when the checks occurred.

The investigation began around 3 a.m. on Nov. 2, charging documents state. It is unclear when the last time officers or officials saw Stephenson alive.

Soule told investigators that the two had gotten into a fight and that “ultimately I did what I had to do to defend myself.”

However, an autopsy by the Chief Medical Examiner found several elements that disputed Soule’s account, charging documents state.

Police wrote that the medical examiner found that Stephenson had been stabbed in the neck, there was significant blunt force trauma to Stephenson’s head and part of his ear was cut off.

“Stephenson’s body was found with his hands bound behind his back with electrical cord,” charging documents state. “There was a knot tied into the cord that bound Stephenson’s hands, and it was a well-formed figure-8 style knot, and did not appear to be hastily tied.”

Police also wrote that Soule had “only a small number of scratches.”

No attorney is listed as representing Soule in court records.

It is unclear how Soule was able to get electrical wire and a sharp object into his cell. Police wrote that Stephenson’s death was ruled a homicide by way of “blunt force trauma, sharp force trauma, and strangulation.”

Questions were raised in 2017 about the security at Anne Arundel detention facilities after three inmates killed themselves in county jails that year, the most in nearly a decade.

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©2019 The Capital (Annapolis, Md.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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