Source AP ©

Convict gets life sentence for cellmate slaying

A federal inmate convicted of killing a cellmate was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

William Sablan, 42, a native of Saipan in the Northern Mariana Islands, was spared execution when his jury on April 6 said it could not unanimously agree on a sentence.

His attorney, Nathan Chambers, did not immediately return a call.

Sablan was convicted in March of first-degree murder in the October 1999 death of Joey Jesus Estrella, 33 at a prison in Colorado. His cousin, Rudy Sablan, 37, also faces a first-degree murder charge. His trial date has not been set.

The two were accused of killing Estrella after a night of drinking homemade liquor and fighting in the cell they shared with Estrella at the federal penitentiary in Florence.

Prosecutors said Rudy Sablan strangled Estrella with a headphone cord and that William Sablan used a prison-issue disposable razor to slash Estrella's neck. An autopsy showed Estrella bled to death and that some of his organs were removed after he died.

Defense attorneys argued that William Sablan had a history of mental illness, brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder that left him unable to control his impulses and deliberately kill Estrella.

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