Man guilty in murder of fellow inmate — while jailed on murder count

Terrence Lee
Terrence Lee

An inmate at the Madison County Jail has pleaded guilty to killing a fellow inmate, and will serve 50 years in prison for murder and armed robbery.

Terrence Lee, 32, was charged with first-degree murder after the jailhouse death of John Newsome Sr., 61, who was found dead in the cellblock on July 19. The Illinois State Police conducted the investigation at the request of the Madison County Sheriff’s Department.

At the time, Madison County State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons called it a “brutal beating,” that appeared to be “completely unprovoked” by the victim. Newsome had just been arrested over the weekend and was being held pending formal charges of domestic battery and possession of brass knuckles by a felon.

Lee was incarcerated at the jail awaiting trial on multiple felony counts, including murder. Lee and Turhan Robinson, 37, were accused of attempting to rob Kenneth Deal of marijuana on May 19, 2014, shooting him in their car, then dumping him out on a street in Madison. Lee was arrested shortly thereafter in St. Louis and extradited to Madison County, where he has remained in custody.

Lee faced four counts of first-degree murder while armed with a firearm; one count of attempted first-degree murder alleging that he fired a gun toward a Madison police officer; and one count of armed robbery. His plea bargain drops the other charges except for the armed robbery, a Class X felony. It was not immediately known if Lee had agreed to testify against Robinson.

Robinson was eventually apprehended in Las Vegas, then escaped a private prisoner transport service en route back to Illinois, slipping away from the transportation van at a Colorado truck stop. He was then recaptured by U.S. Marshals.

Robinson’s trial is pending. The maximum penalty for murder is 20 to 60 years in prison, of which the defendant must serve 100 percent.

Elizabeth Donald: 618-239-2507, @BNDedonald