A convicted murderer pleaded guilty Thursday to a second killing three years ago at Jessup Correctional Institution.
Jeffrey Eugene Cordell, 31, of Elkton, will receive an additional 30 years in prison when he is sentenced Aug. 5 in Anne Arundel Circuit Court, according to his plea agreement.
Cordell pleaded guilty to second-degree murder for the killing of his cellmate, 21-year-old Robert Tunnell of Baltimore, at Jessup on June 27, 2012.
The sentence will be served consecutive to a 100-year sentence he received for first-degree murder, stemming from the killing of a woman in Cecil County in 2010.
Anne Arundel Assistant State's Attorney Luke Clippinger said Cordell and Tunnell arrived at Jessup the afternoon of June 26, 2012, and were to be transported the following day to Eastern Correctional Institution on the Eastern Shore.
Tunnell was serving a six-year sentence for a sex offense conviction, according to online court records. He and Cordell didn't know each other.
Cordell and Tunnell were housed together that night. There, they spoke about their charges and past crimes, Clippinger said.
Upon hearing of Tunnell's crimes involving children, Cordell became "sickened," Clippinger said, and devised a plan to kill him.
That night, Cordell tied his shoe strings into a noose and slipped it around Tunnell's neck, Clippinger said. Cordell strangled Tunnell until Tunnell passed out, then beat him and stomped him, the prosecutor said.
Cordell stuffed a sheet in the toilet and flushed it, filling the bowl with water, Clippinger said. He then dragged Tunnell's body over to the toilet and placed Tunnell's head in the water.
A corrections officer on his rounds about 2 a.m. saw the light on in the cell, looked inside and saw Cordell pacing back and forth, Clippinger said. Then he saw Tunnell on his knees, his face in the toilet. The floor was covered in blood.
Cordell admitted to investigators that he killed Tunnell, Clippinger said. An autopsy determined Tunnell died of asphyxia and blunt force injuries.
Defense attorneys said Cordell has a long history of mental health issues.