CARABELLE - A 43-year-old convicted sex offender was stabbed to death in his cell early Monday morning at Franklin Correctional Institution.
Nathaniel Taylor died from wounds inflicted by a shank, a homemade weapon, while he was in his cell around 4:55 a.m., according to officials.
The alleged perpetrator is his cellmate Christopher Lunz, 41, who is serving a life sentence for a first-degree murder committed in Pinellas County in March 2003.
Lunz is also believed to have stabbed a second inmate this morning, although his wounds were not life-threatening. Prison officials declined to release the second victim’s name because of medical privacy regulations.
Gretl Plessinger, spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Corrections, said the second victim was not a cellmate of Lunz’s.
“Because it just happened this morning, we’re still investigating, but some details are blurry at this point,” she said.
Plessinger said a captain approached Lunz after the stabbing, talked him out of the weapon and got control of the situation. The facility, located just outside Carrabelle, then went into restricted movement status.
According to authorities, Taylor was convicted in March 1996 in Volusia County on two sex-related offenses: lewd and lascivious assault on a child under age 16, and coercion of a sex act on a child by an adult.
He served about 7 1/2 years for the crimes, and was released in December 2003. Taylor returned to prison in June 2006 after violating his parole and was expected to be incarcerated until September 2016. ..Source.. by DAVID ADLERSTEIN / Florida Freedom Newspapers
Pinellas murderer commits suicide after fatally stabbing cellmate
NEW PORT RICHEY - If taken at his word, Christopher Lunz wanted to die.
After being convicted of first-degree murder in the slaying of his father, Lunz begged a Pinellas County jury to sentence him to death in 2006. Instead, jurors recommended life in prison.
But Lunz, 41, made good on his death wish today, killing himself inside Florida State Prison in Raiford. His suicide came roughly 30 hours after he stabbed his cellmate to death and injured a second inmate while at Franklin Correctional Institution in Carrabelle, authorities say.
Lunz had been housed at Franklin since August 2006. He was only taken to the more secure Raiford facility after prison officials found convicted child molester Nathaniel Taylor dead Monday morning in the cell he shared with Lunz.
Taylor, 46, was serving time for violating parole on convictions out of Volusia County. He was scheduled to be released in 2016.
Prison officers opened cell doors at 4:55 a.m. Monday and immediately heard Lunz say he had a hostage and warn officers to stay back, said Department of Corrections spokeswoman Gretl Plessinger. An officer talked Lunz into surrendering a shank and noticed Taylor's body.
Officials did not identify the injured inmate but said his injuries were not life-threatening.
Plessinger said she didn't know how Lunz made the shank or the manner of his suicide.
"The details are all pretty sketchy until the investigation gets a little further along," she said.
Lunz and co-defendant William Westerman were charged with first-degree murder in 2005. Authorities said the men drove from their home in North Carolina to Palm Harbor in March 2003 to kill 56-year-old David Lunz. Investigators said Christopher Lunz wanted his father dead so he could inherit his estate, which was valued at nearly $400,000.
The case made headlines when it went to trial in June 2006, partly because Lunz acted as his own attorney for most of the proceedings. Westerman made a deal with prosecutors and testified against his former mentor and roommate, admitting that he shot David Lunz but saying he did so on Christopher Lunz's orders.
Westerman, 29, is serving a 30-year sentence.
Lunz brimmed with confidence during his trial, even planning a press conference to announce what he thought would be a not guilty verdict. It wasn't to be. His dream of vindication shattered, Lunz pleaded for a death sentence during the trial's penalty phase.
"I don't mind," he testified. "I'm not too happy. I'm 38 years old, and I've never been in love, never been on a date."
He also testified that his father was killed for raping him as a child and beating his mother. Lunz called himself a serial killer and said he had killed more than 20 other men who had raped children.
The jury still refused to recommend death.
"I should have known better," Lunz said after he received the life sentence. "I should have known if you ask for death, they give you life." ..Source.. by TODD LESKANIC | The Tampa Tribune