Inmate charged in beating death of fellow convict
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A hulking prison inmate has been charged with homicide in the beating death of another inmate at the state penitentiary in Somerset County.
Mark Edward Farabaugh, 43, who stands 6 feet, 3 inches tall and weighs more than 360 pounds, faces a preliminary hearing Tuesday in the death of Keith Williams, 52, who used a wheelchair.
State police said Farabaugh, in prison for fleeing police and driving under the influence in Plum in 2006, punched Williams, a convicted rapist from Wilkinsburg, repeatedly in the head during a March 24 fight in E Unit of State Correctional Institution Laurel Highlands.
A guard broke up the fight, but Williams died of his injuries two days later.
One inmate told troopers the fight started when the men argued over food. When Williams stood up from his wheelchair, the witness said, Farabaugh punched him in the knee, knocked him to the ground, "dove" onto him and punched him in the head "about a half-dozen times," according to an affidavit.
Other inmates said they also saw Farabaugh punch Williams repeatedly. Although they all differed on how many blows were struck, they all said Williams never hit Farabaugh.
Farabaugh told a different story. He said Williams blocked him from leaving Cube 19 in the unit and then slapped him, knocking off his glasses.
He said he "restrained himself" from striking Williams because of his age, but that Williams tackled him and started punching him.
Farabaugh said he grabbed Williams' wrists and began hitting Williams with his own hands, saying "See, I could hurt you. Just stop."
He also said, according to the affidavit, that "maybe when he went to the operation room somebody went in there and hit him with a baseball bat."
Williams was initially taken to Somerset Community Hospital after the fight because of pain in his wrist and knee. An exam showed he had a broken wrist and a displaced kneecap.
While he was being treated, he began complaining of pain in the left side of his head and was transported to Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center in Johnstown. He died there Thursday, and an autopsy revealed he had a fractured skull.
Farabaugh was being held at the prison pending a hearing at 10 a.m. Tuesday before a magistrate in Somerset.
First Published July 28, 2012 12:00 am