LAKE CITY, Florida — An inmate serving a life sentence met a grisly fate when his cellmate allegedly choked him to death, gouged out his eyes, and then cut off his ear to wear as a necklace.
The gruesome slaying occurred just hours before a major gang-related rumble at the Columbia Correctional Institute in Florida, and only got the attention of authorities when the killer showed up for breakfast with his dead cellmate’s ear around his neck.
He had left the dead man’s blood soaked body wrapped in a bed sheet in the cell.
Authorities identified the dead inmate as 58-year-old Larry Mark, who had been serving a life sentence for the murder of cab driver in 1981. Officials wouldn’t discuss how he died, but the Miami Herald, citing prison sources, detailed his bloody end.
The killed, who had not yet been publicly identified, apparently grew angry with Mark for “pestering him.” After strangling him, the Herald reported that the killer cut off Mark’s ear and gouged out his eyeballs.
He then put the ear on a string around his neck, which he showed off to several inmates before breakfast in the chow hall, the paper reported. He left the eyeballs in a cup in the cell and told other prisoners that he intended to either eat them later.
The Herald reported that the killer had recently been transferred to Columbia from Florida State Prison where he had been on Death Row.
A few hours after the killing, an apparently unrelated gang fight erupted in another building on the compound between members of the Bloods and the Cutthroats began stabbing each other over smuggled contraband.
The prison holds 3,000 inmates and its guards complain that they are severely overstaffed.