Dexter Ewing, 47, sat shackled and quiet in court Wednesday as what prosecutors called a videotaped confession was shown to jurors.
“He said, ‘I don’t wanna die in prison,’” Ewing recounted to detectives in video and audio footage shown in court. “I said, shut up.’”
Ewing then allegedly held a shank to Jerome Scott’s neck, tied him up with bed sheets and strangled his cellmate at Columbia Correctional Institution with a cord.
Previously convicted of first-degree intentional homicide in Milwaukee County and already serving a life sentence in prison, Ewing is again charged with first-degree intentional homicide in Columbia County Circuit Court.
The ongoing jury trial is scheduled to conclude Sept. 18.
Two separate attempted homicide cases against Ewing remain open in Grant County.
According to the footage, Ewing told detectives that Scott, his former cellmate at CCI, had threatened him multiple times in the days leading up to Scott’s Feb. 12, 2015, death.
“After that, I was having crazy thoughts,” Ewing told detectives, adding he heard voices in his head telling him to kill Scott. “He started it, though.”
Ewing told detectives he felt bad about his first kill. But he said after Scott confronted him in prison, only one of them was going to survive in Unit 1, Cell 36.
Brandy Heath testified Wednesday she was working as a corrections officer at CCI at the time. Heath said she passed by Ewing’s cell, and he tried to get her attention.
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Assistant District Attorney Jordan Lippert questioned Heath about Ewing’s demeanor.
He was “slightly frantic, because he repeated himself a few times,” Heath said, adding she called for backup teams immediately.
When Heath and a lieutenant handcuffed Ewing, she testified that he was sweaty, despite it being the middle of February.
Former corrections officer Susan Paredes also testified Wednesday, stating Ewing informed guards without any remorse that his cellmate was dead.
“He told me his cellmate was face-down in blood,” Paredes said, adding she and Heath were taken aback and called for tactical and medical assistance. “He was very nonchalant when he told us about his cellmate. There was no emotion.”
Paredes testified she stood watch outside Ewing’s cell for about 15 minutes and noticed Scott’s body was covered with a bed sheet. Ewing did not “put up a fight” with the guards and was calm, she said.
According to the video shown in court Wednesday, Ewing told investigators he was glad Scott was gone and that he had feared for his own safety.
Ewing told detectives Scott said he wasn’t afraid of him and had threatened to stab him with a pen on at least one occasion.
A detective asked Ewing on record, “Were you scared he was gonna do something to you?”
“Yeah,” Ewing replied. “I said, ‘This is my room, too.’”