Utah inmate who killed his cellmate sentenced to up to life in prison

Courtesy | Utah Department of Corrections Timothy Patrick Maez

A Utah inmate who killed his cellmate in a brutal attack last year will spend up to life in prison for his crime.

Timothy Patrick Maez pleaded guilty in June to first-degree felony aggravated murder in the death of James Charles Corbett, who was found unresponsive on Aug. 10, 2016, in the cell they shared at the Utah State Prison. The 33-year-old Corbett was taken to a hospital, where he was declared dead.

On Monday, 3rd District Judge Keith Kelly imposed a sentence of 25 years to life behind bars, which will run consecutively to the prison terms that Maez already is serving.

Maez, 39, and Corbett were held in the prison’s Olympus facility, which houses prisoners who have mental health issues. The charges against Maez allege he got into an argument with Corbett, stabbed him with a pen, cut him with a razor, shoved a spoon into his eye socket and strangled him with a bed sheet.

The attack stopped when Maez heard officers enter the unit for a security check, Unified Police Department Detective Brent Adamson testified at a preliminary hearing in March. He also testified Maez — who takes anti-psychotic medications — said he hears voices.

At the sentencing, Brenda Johnson, Corbett’s older sister, described her brother as a “sweet soul” who struggled with mental health issues and said she is angry and brokenhearted over his death.

However, Johnson also said she hopes Maez becomes a better human being.

“I forgive you, Timothy, because that’s the only way I can move forward,” she said.

Maez declined to speak but defense attorney Patrick Corum said his client is remorseful. He also said the two men never should have been put in the same cell because Maez had assaulted Corbett previously.

Inmates and medical personnel testified at the preliminary hearing that the cellmates had wanted to be separated because Maez had a problem with the nature of Corbett’s crime. But four corrections officers testified they were unaware of conflict between the two or any request made by Corbett to be moved for safety reasons.

Corbett had been sentenced to consecutive terms of up to five years each for two counts of attempted sexual abuse of a child. He was set to be paroled on Sept. 9, 2016, after serving nearly a decade behind bars.

Maez began serving a sentence of one to 15 years in June 2014 after he pleaded guilty to attempted aggravated kidnapping, a second-degree felony. He was given two subsequent sentences in 2015 in separate cases for propelling a substance at a correctional officer and for retaliation against a judge or Board of Pardons and Parole member.

Return to Story