Death penalty possible for Watland

Prison Murder
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  May 26, 2010

Gary Watland, the brilliant and mentally ill convicted murderer whose 2006 scheme to have his wife smuggle a loaded handgun into the Maine State Prison in Warren was foiled when another prisoner tipped off officials, faces a possible death penalty if convicted of a second murder.

Watland, 48, was in the state prison because he had shot and killed a drinking buddy in Anson in 2004. After his escape attempt, he was transferred to the United States Penitentiary in Florence, Colorado, where, in 2008, a federal affidavit claims, he stabbed a fellow inmate in the throat with a homemade knife. The victim, Mark Baker, 40, was playing cards at the time. “It was a disrespect issue,” the affidavit says Watland told FBI agents.

Federal prosecutors wouldn’t confirm if they will seek Watland’s execution, but it’s likely, according to sources close to the case. Watland is now in the nation’s tightest solitary-confinement “supermax,” Administrative Maximum Facility (ADX), also in Florence.

At MSP, he had hacked into the prison’s computer files, including its security system, using the prison library’s computers. (See “Stabbed in the Back” and “Gifted Felons,” by Lance Tapley, September 14, 2007.)

His wife Susan received a three-year sentence for her role in the escape plot and is now out of prison.

  Topics: This Just In , Health and Fitness, Criminal Sentencing and Punishment, Crime,  More more >
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