Defendant Cedric Wright is led into the courtroom Tuesday for his trial. Wright has been found guilty of murder in the Oct. 6, 2013, death of his cellmate Michael Dodson.
A jury in Lucas County Common Pleas Court today found Cedric Wright guilty of murder in the beating death of his cellmate at Toledo Correctional Institution.
Wright, 55, who is serving a life sentence for murder and other charges from Montgomery County, was found guilty of one count of murder for an Oct. 6, 2013 attack on Michael Dodson, 38, who died the next day at Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center.
Judge Linda Jennings immediately sentenced Wright to life in prison with parole eligibility after 15 years.
The judge ordered that the sentence be served consecutive to the sentence he’s already service.
During the three-day trial, defense attorney Mark Geudtner attempted to convince the jury that Wright was acting in self-defense when he fought with Dodson.
Wright did not take the witness stand, but told a state trooper who investigated Dodson's death that Dodson had come at him with a metal shank. Prosecutors countered there was no evidence to prove that theory.
J. Christopher Anderson, an assistant county prosecutor, said in his closing argument this morning that to lawfully use self-defense, one must first retreat if he can. Wright's cell door was open, and he was free to leave it, Mr. Anderson said.
“Self-defense means this killing of Michael Dodson was justified,” he said. “We have a situation where he did such a brutal beating — there was no fight — this was a beatdown.”
Dodson was beaten beyond recognition, Mr. Anderson said, while Wright sustained a laceration on his hand akin to a paper cut.
When a corrections officer saw the assault, ran into the cell, and attempted to stop Wright, he pushed her out of the cell, slammed the door shut, and jammed it so that guards could not re-enter.
“He had an opportunity to walk right out of there, no problem whatsoever,” Mr. Anderson said. “[The corrections officer] tried to grab him by the arm. You saw the video. He pushed her back. He wanted to be in that cell.”