Inmate pleads guilty to premeditated murder

A federal inmate formerly held at the federal corrections institution at Allenwood pleaded guilty Tuesday in Harrisburg before U.S. Middle District Judge Yvette Kane to first degree murder for stabbing and kicking a fellow inmate to death.

U.S. Attorney for the district, Peter J. Smith, and Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer, of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, said the plea was entered by Shawn Cooya, 33, formerly of White River, Ariz.

In September 2005, Cooya, allegedly along with co-defendant Ritz Williams – another inmate at Allenwood – aided each other in the premeditated murder of inmate Alvin Allery by repeatedly stabbing him with a homemade knife and repeatedly kicking him in the head and torso.

Cooya and Williams were indicted by a federal grand jury in Williamsport in February 2008 and a superseding indictment was returned in July 2009.

As a result of his plea, Cooya faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison. Sentencing has been scheduled for March 18.

A trial date for Williams has been scheduled for April 15.

The case was investigated by the FBI and the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Wayne Samuelson and Michelle Olshefski and Michael Warbel of the Criminal Division’s Capital Case Unit.