Already serving a life sentence for murder, a former inmate at Toledo Correctional Institution pleaded no contest Wednesday in the strangulation of his cellmate.
Dustin Lynch, 26, was then found guilty of aggravated murder for the death on March 17 of Arturo Lopez, 43, formerly of Port Clinton. Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Gary Cook scheduled sentencing for Oct. 16.
Lynch, who could be sentenced to as much as life in prison without the possibility of parole, currently is serving a 20-year to life sentence for killing a 17-year-old girl in her Medina County home in 2002. JoLynn Mishne was bludgeoned and stabbed to death in her bed.
Jennifer Donovan, an assistant Lucas County prosecutor, told the court Lynch had Lopez make a rope for him to use for jump roping and then used that rope to strangle him. He also carved the word “CHOMO” in the victim’s back — a reference to child molester. Lopez had been in prison for a rape conviction from Ottawa County, and Lynch told investigators that he was thinking of killing him ever since the two became cellmates March 11.
On the day of the murder, Ms. Donovan said, Lynch told corrections officers that he had hurt his cellmate. They found Lopez on the floor with a rope around his neck.
Ms. Donovan said prison personnel removed Lynch from the cell, cut the rope from Lopez’s neck, and attempted to resuscitate him. He was later pronounced dead at Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center.
Defense attorney Jeff Simpson declined to comment after the plea hearing.
The slaying of Lopez was the second homicide at Toledo Correctional since it opened in 2000. Last September, Lawrence Hensley, 44, of Sidney, Ohio — also a convicted murderer — strangled Bradley Hamlin, 24, of Mantua, Ohio. In that case, Hensley was sentenced in July to life in prison without the possibility of parole by Judge Gene Zmuda.
Contact Jennifer Feehan at: email@example.com or 419-213-2134.