A Southwest Baltimore man who was convicted of two murders but claimed to have killed 10 people was found dead in his prison cell Saturday afternoon, Maryland corrections officials said.
Joseph Metheny, 62, was found unresponsive by a prison guard about 3 p.m. and pronounced dead shortly after, said Gerard Shields, spokesman for the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services. Metheny had his own cell at Western Correctional Institution in Cumberland, and officials are conducting a routine investigation into his death.
Metheny was serving two life sentences for killing two women in 1994 and 1996 and burying their remains under his trailer at a Southwest Baltimore pallet company. He was sentenced to die in 1998, but an appeals court overturned the sentence and sent him to prison for life without parole.
At his sentencing, he requested to be put to death and said, "The words, 'I'm sorry' will never come out, for they would be a lie. I am more than willing to give up my life for what I have done, to have God judge me and send me to hell for eternity."
He said he killed because he "enjoyed it."
Metheny received the life sentences for killing Cathy Ann Magaziner and Kimberly Spicer. He had been acquitted in 1998 for killing two homeless men with an ax at a makeshift camp in South Baltimore and admitted later he had lied and gotten away with it when he denied his involvement. He said he threw other bodies in the Patapsco River that were never found.
Baltimore police were unable to confirm Metheny's claims to have committed the additional murders. Prosecutors dropped charges against Metheny in the killing of another woman for lack of evidence.
During the time of the killings, Metheny worked as a $7-an-hour forklift driver at the pallet factory in Southwest Baltimore. Spicer's body was found Dec. 15, 1996, under a trailer at the factory. Three days later, Metheny led police to a shallow grave on the property that held Magaziner's remains.
His defense attorneys described Metheny's childhood as one of neglect, with an absent, alcoholic father and a mother who worked double shifts to support her six children in Essex. A large man but nicknamed "Tiny," Metheny preyed on women addicted to heroin and cocaine, police said.