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Suspect in CA inmate death serving life sentence for murder of Iraq War veteran

Folsom State Prison, Folsom, Calif. (Vidor/Wikimedia Commons)

One of the inmates reportedly involved in a deadly fight last week at California State Prison, Sacramento, was sent to the prison in 2014, serving a life sentence for the murder of a wounded Iraq War veteran — whom he stabbed 74 times in a meth-induced robbery.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation identified Nicholas Mangelli, 28, as being involved in a fight Thursday night at the prison’s exercise yard, during which Charles Anthony Ross, 63, was fatally stabbed with an inmate-made device. The other involved inmate, 35-year-old Joshua Kerr, was received from Orange County and is serving a 22-year sentence for attempted second-degree murder.

Mangelli was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole in February 2014, one month after pleading guilty in Sacramento County Superior Court to stabbing his friend during a drug-hazed attack and robbery in February 2012, as The Bee reported after his plea.

Mangelli, 23 at the time, said he had methamphetamine, opium and Ecstasy in his system, telling a judge he went “ballistic” before stabbing a man whom he considered his friend for a total of what he thought was 35 times in the victim’s Citrus Heights home. An autopsy confirmed he actually stabbed the victim 74 times.

The victim, Michael Allen Cole, was a 26-year-old veteran of the Iraq War who served with the Marines and who in 2006 was severely injured in an explosion.

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Cole reportedly showed Mangelli a safe full of valuables, including a collection of swords and knives. Mangelli said he grabbed a “small little blade” from the safe and stabbed Cole to death, then stole Cole’s video games and video game consoles to sell them for drug money, he told Citrus Heights detectives, according to testimony read in court.

Mangelli called himself “sick and twisted” in an interview with law enforcement, court transcripts show.

Ross was fatally stabbed about 2:15 p.m. Thursday during a fight involving Mangelli and Kerr, according to an updated Corrections Department news release on Monday. Mangelli and Kerr are considered suspects in the homicide, the news release said.

Ross was also serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole, convicted in 1997 for first-degree murder and second-degree robbery in Riverside County.

California State Prison, Sacramento, is located in Folsom. It is a high-security prison housing about 2,100 inmates.

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© 2019 The Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, Calif.)

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.