LaMar v. Houk, No. 11-3153 (6th Cir. 2015)Annotate this Case
In 1993, Muslim inmates seized control of cellblock “L” at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility, took guards hostage and locked inmates considered “snitches” into cells in the L–6 section. The Muslim inmates maintained control of unit L–6 while the Aryan Brotherhood and the Black Gangster Disciples controlled other units within L–Block. LaMar an SOCF inmate serving a sentence for a 1989 murder conviction, was not a Muslim, did not plan or participate in the prison takeover and was in the prison recreation yard when the riot began. LaMar and other inmates negotiated with the Muslim inmates and beat to death five inmates, identified as “snitches,” in exchange for access to the yard. Convicted, LaMar received death sentences for four of the killings and a life sentence for the fifth. After exhausting state remedies, LaMar’s federal habeas petition was rejected. The Sixth Circuit affirmed, rejecting claims that the state withheld favorable evidence in violation of Brady v. Maryland; that the state trial court denied LaMar due process by refusing to sever one count from the remaining charges; that there was insufficient evidence for one of the capital sentencing aggravators; and that he was denied due process by prosecutorial misconduct.