Pair of Montana Prison Inmates Charged With Trying to Kill a 3rd

Powell County prosecutors say one inmate held the victim while another beat him with a lock

By Associated Press

DEER LODGE — Two Montana State Prison inmates are charged with trying to kill another inmate nearly two years ago.

Michael Spell and Thomas Creel Lanham pleaded not guilty to deliberate homicide Tuesday in Deer Lodge for an April 2016 attack on James Marshall.

Powell County prosecutors say Spell held Marshall while Lanham beat him with a lock. Lanham suffered fractures to bones in his face and broken ribs.

Prosecutors say Lanham and Marshall had argued a day earlier. Investigators say after the attack Lanham was upset that Marshall hadn’t died.

Spell is serving a 100-year sentence for kidnapping and killing teacher Sherry Arnold in Sidney in January 2012. Lanham was convicted of a 1997 burglary and rape in Flathead County.

Prison officials say both men were moved to maximum security after the attack. Marshall has since been paroled.

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