Inmate who killed York County convict represented himself at trial, found guilty
A state prison inmate accused of killing a York County prison inmate represented himself at his murder trial this week, and a jury found him guilty.
After a three-day trial in Somerset County's Court of Common Pleas, jurors found SCI Somerset inmate Dale Michael Wakefield, 29, of Waynesburg, guilty of the 2018 murder of his cellmate, 25-year-old Joshua Steven Perry, formerly of the Dillsburg area.
Perry was sentenced to prison in 2015 for beating an 18-month-old child; Wakefield is serving a life sentence for murdering a 71-year-old homeless veteran in Bucks County, according to WFMZ-TV.
Prison corrections staff found Perry dead in his cell on Jan. 9, 2018. He had blunt force trauma to his head and neck, his hands were tied behi his back, and he had a sheet tied around his neck. Police said that Wakefield was the only one who had access to Perry at his time of death.
Jurors found Wakefield guilty on three charges — first-degree murder, assault by a life prisoner and aggravated assault — according to the Pennsylvania Attorney General's office, who prosecuted the case.
"For more than three years, Joshua Perry's family has sought justice and wondered if this day would come," Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said in a statement. "Thanks to the work of our prosecutors and our law enforcement partners the defendant was found guilty of murdering his cellmate."
Wakefield opted out of using a state-appointed public defender and acted as his own attorney during trial, according to Tiffany Marie Stanley, the court-appointed public defender who was on "standby" to represent Wakefield if he requested her service.
In Pennsylvania, first-degree murder can carry a sentence of death or life in prison without parole.
Wakefield will be sentenced on Nov. 5, according to court records.