Hayes
Hayes

A former York County Prison inmate must spend at least 2-1/2 additional years in prison for beating a fellow inmate to death nearly two years ago.

Malik James Hayes, 25, on Tuesday pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter, a first-degree misdemeanor, in the Aug. 21, 2011, death of Jesus Maldonado-Martinez.

As part of a negotiated plea agreement, he was sentenced to 2-1/2 to five years in state prison, court records state. In exchange for his plea, a felony charge of assault by prisoner was dismissed.

Hayes, of Philadelphia, was ordered to pay $6,495 in restitution to the state's victim compensation fund, to reimburse the agency for paying the victim's funeral expenses, according to the York County District Attorney's Office.

Maldonado-Martinez
Maldonado-Martinez

His sentence won't begin until he finishes serving a 7-1/2- to 15-year sentence for robbery, defense attorney Chris Moore confirmed.

The prison death began as a mutual fight and got out of hand, according to Moore, who said his client didn't mean to kill Maldonado-Martinez.

The victim's mother appeared for Tuesday's sentencing and told Hayes she forgives him, Moore said.

Fight over manners: The fatal fistfight erupted over an apparent lack of manners, according to court records.

After the fight, Hayes told state police the fight started after the victim bumped into him, documents state.

"Hayes told the victim that he should have said 'excuse me,'" documents state.

At that point, Maldonado-Martinez told Hayes he "wasn't playing," and Hayes replied he, too, was serious.

The confrontation ended when the Maldonado-Martinez invited Hayes to meet him in his (the victim's) cell during recreation time, police said.

No words: When most inmates went outside for recreation time, Hayes went to Maldonado-Martinez's cell and the men "started exchanging punches without saying a word to each other," records state.

Hayes said he threw the last punch, which landed on the right side of Maldonado-Martinez's face, at which point the victim had labored breathing and said he was done fighting, according to records.

A witness told investigators that at the end of the fight, Maldonado-Martinez's head hit the wall and he fell onto a metal table, police said.

Other inmates alerted a guard. The prison's medical staff did CPR after determining the victim wasn't breathing and had no pulse, and he was rushed to the hospital, police said.

Head trauma: Maldonado-Martinez, 22, formerly of Hill Street in Spring Garden Township, was pronounced dead at Memorial Hospital about an hour after the fight.

An autopsy determined he died of head trauma suffered during the assault, officials said.

Hayes was a state prison inmate being held in York County Prison because of overcrowding in the state prison system.

In addition to robbery, his criminal record includes guilty pleas to charges of robbery and burglary for cases in Philadelphia.

Not murder: York County District Attorney Tom Kearney has said Hayes wasn't charged with murder because the facts of the case don't fit that crime.

Hayes' conduct was reckless, not malicious, Kearney said, and it was a mutual fight.

Maldonado-Martinez was serving a 332-day sentence for probation violations, according to court records.

His criminal record included convictions and guilty pleas to drug dealing, theft, simple assault and a chop-shop related charge.

Senior deputy prosecutor Lishani Sunday did not return a message seeking comment.

-- Staff writer Liz Evans Scolforo can also be reached at levans@yorkdispatch.com.