Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Sheriff’s Office: Inmate killed to stay in prison
Crime » Man “likes it in prison and was afraid of being released, since he has nowhere to go.”
First Published Nov 27 2013 09:34 pm • Last Updated Nov 27 2013 09:34 pm

Florence, Ariz. • A Mexican citizen illegally in the United States killed a prison cellmate in order to remain in custody, the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday.

The Sheriff’s Office said it is recommending that prosecutors charge 43-year-old Roberto Venegas-Fernandez with first-degree murder in the Nov. 16 killing of 55-year-old Michael Patrick McNaughton

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Both men were prisoners of the U.S. Marshals Service, which has said they were from the San Diego area and housed at a Corrections Corp. of America prison in Florence pending their transfer to the Bureau of Prisons.

The killing occurred during what was initially reported as a fight between the two men.

However, Sheriff Paul Babeu said Venegas-Fernandez told investigators that he choked and stomped McNaughton because "he likes it in prison and was afraid of being released, since he has nowhere to go."

"Roberto wanted to find a way to stay in jail, so while the victim was sitting on his bed, he choked him until he fell onto the ground, then stomped on his head and continued to choke the victim until he was presumed dead," Babeu said in a statement released by his office.

Sheriff’s spokesman Tim Gaffney said Venegas-Fernandez doesn’t have a lawyer.

Court records indicated that McNaughton was sentenced in federal court in San Diego to 6 and a-half years in prison after pleading guilty to a child pornography charge and that Venegas-Fernandez is a Mexican citizen who was sentenced to eight months in prison for illegally re-entering the country after being deported.

An FBI agent said in court papers that McNaughton shared dozens of photos with the agent through an online image-sharing system and that hundreds of images of children engaging in sexually explicit conduct were found during a search of McNaughton’s residence.

A Border Patrol agent said in court papers that Venegas-Fernandez was apprehended shortly after he climbed over the fence on the U.S.-Mexico border a half-mile from the Calixico, Calif., port-of-entry on June 12.

story continues below
story continues below

Records indicated that Venegas-Fernandez had been deported to Mexico on Jan. 26, 1998.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.