A federal inmate was indicted for murder Thursday in the October death of a fellow prisoner at United States Penitentiary Big Sandy in Martin County.

The indictment alleges that Terrell Lamar Johnson, 31, stabbed Calvin Speight to death with a makeshift shank — specifically, a 6-inch piece of metal sharpened to a point — during an altercation on Oct. 24, 2006.

It is unclear if the weapon belonged to Johnson, or a third prisoner, Muhammad Abdul-Rahman, who last month pleaded guilty to assault for attacking Johnson with a shank in the same incident.

The indictment seems to indicate Johnson as the aggressor in the incident, at least as it pertains to Speight, saying Johnson killed the fellow prisoner “willfully, deliberately, maliciously and with premeditation and malice aforethought.”

Johnson, who is now being housed in United States Penitentiary McCreary, is charged with murder, assault resulting in serious bodily injury and possession of a prohibited object.

According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Johnson is already serving time through 2013.

If convicted of murder, he will receive a mandatory sentence of life in prison.

The lesser charges carry penalties of up to 10 and five years, respectively.

Abdul-Rahman, who was indicted by a federal grand jury several months before Johnson, was initially charged with attempted murder, assault with a dangerous weapon and possession of a prohibited object for his role in the brawl.

The attempted murder and weapon possession charges were dropped when Abdul-Rahman pleaded guilty to the assault charge in June, receiving eight years to be tacked on to a prison sentence already running through 2022.

During his plea, Abdul-Rahman admitted to coming at Johnson with the shank while Johnson was being restrained by prison staff. Abdul-Rahman said he chased Johnson and eventually stabbed him.

Johnson is expected to be arraigned on his charges in the coming weeks in U.S. District Court in Pikeville.

BEN FIELDS can be reached at bfields@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2651.

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