South Carolina

Beaufort man charged with killing jail cellmate. He was already accused in NJ murder

A Beaufort man who was awaiting extradition to New Jersey was arrested last month on charges of killing his cellmate during a fight at the Lieber Correctional Institution in Ridgeville, according to a S.C. Department of Corrections news release.

Marcus Antonio Wright, 23, was arrested in January and accused of robbing an Edison, New Jersey, gas station and fatally shooting the clerk, 38-year-old John Bertram.

He was charged with first-degree murder, first-degree armed robbery, conspiracy to commit armed robbery and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose in relation to that incident, a news release from the Middlesex County, N.J., Prosecutor’s Office said.

Now, Wright also faces a murder charge in the death of Matthew Williams.

On Sept. 13, Wright and Williams were locked in their cell when they got into a fight, the arrest warrant says. Wright “is suspected to have used personal weapons to cause severe injuries to the victim’s face and head directly causing the victim’s death.”

Williams’ cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head, according to the warrant.

Wright completed his S.C. Department of Correction sentence for burglary and smuggling on Oct. 1, and he was released to Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office, where he was later charged with murder in Williams’ death.

Wright remains at the Dorchester County Detention Center.

Previous offenses in Beaufort County

In the past five years, Wright has faced multiple burglary charges in Beaufort County, according to court documents.

In 2013, while still a minor, he pleaded guilty to two third-degree burglary charges and was sentenced to five years on probation under the Youthful Offender Act, the documents say.

In 2014, he pleaded guilty to receiving stolen goods valued at more than $2,000 and less than $10,000 and was sentenced to 3 years in prison, the documents say.

Then in 2015, he pleaded guilty to having contraband in prison and second-degree burglary and was sentenced to eight years in prison, according to the documents.

Wright was granted parole in March and was released in June, said Dexter Lee, S.C. Department of Corrections interim communications director.

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Lana Ferguson has reported on a smorgasbord of news for The Island Packet & Beaufort Gazette since June 2018. Before coming to the Lowcountry, she worked for publications in her home state of Virginia and graduated from the University of Mississippi, where she was editor of the college’s daily newspaper.
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