2:15 PM

Federal Medical Center For Prisoners--Springfield

August 11, 2010:

Two prisoners at the Federal Medical Center for Prisoners in Springfield have been charged with murder for the death of a fellow inmate last January.

Repeated attempts to obtain the April indictments were unsuccessful. They were finally forwarded to The Ozarks Sentinel this morning.

A grand jury indicted Wesley Paul Coonce Jr., 30, Mansfield, Texas, and Charles Michael Hall, 39, for the January 26th murder of Victor Castro-Rodriquez.

Castro-Rodriquez, 51, who was incarcerated "because he was dangerous due to mental illness" was found unresponsive in his cell. After failed attempts to resuscitate him, Castro-Rodriquez was pronounced dead about 8:40 p.m.

Warden Marty Anderson says that Castro-Rodriquez, who was from southern Florida had been incarcerated at the Fed Med since 2002, and did not have a cell mate.

The indictments state:

  • 1. The death or injuries resulting in death, occurred during the commission or
    attempted commission, of an offense (murder by prisoner serving life

  • 2. The defendant has previously been convicted of 2 or more Federal or State
    offenses punishable by a term of imprisonment of more than 1 year, committed on different occasions, involving the infliction of, or attempted infliction of, serious bodily injury or death.
  • 3. The defendant committed the offense in an especially heinous, cruel, or depraved
    manner in that it involved torture or serious physical abuse to Victor Castro-Rodriguez.

  • 4. The defendant committed the offense after substantial planning and premeditation
    to cause the death of Victor Castro-Rodriguez.

  • 5. The victim, Victor Castro-Rodriguez, was particularly vulnerable due to infirmity,
    in this case, mental illness.
Coonce was sentenced to life in prison after he pleaded guilty to kidnapping and carjacking a woman from the parking lot of a Fort Worth grocery store in March of 2002. Coonce sexually assaulted the woman in Texas and Oklahoma then told her he was taking her to Michigan.
The woman told authorities that after Coonce stopped for gas in Missouri, she grabbed the truck keys off the store counter when he turned away. She ran back to the truck and attempted to flee but the emergency brake was engaged. When she ran back into the convenience store and asked the clerk to call police, Coonce fled in her pickup.
Charles Michael Hall is incarcerated at the Fed Med for making telephone bomb threats targeting former President George Bush's Kennebunkport home and the Portland International Jetport while he was incarcerated on an unrelated matter .  He also mailing threatening letters to the U. S. Attorney Jay P. McCloskey who was investigating the bomb threats. He was scheduled to be released from prison on September 27, 2018.

UPDATE 05-08-14:

 Two inmates at the U.S. Medical Center for Federal Prisoners in Springfield have been convicted in federal court of murdering another inmate at the facility four years ago.
A federal jury found Wesley Paul Coonce, Jr., 34, and Charles Michael Hall, 43, guilty yesterday (05-07-14) of one count of murder in the first degree.  Coonce was also found guilty of one count of murder by an inmate serving a life sentence. 
Fifty one year-old Victor Castro-Rodriguez, who had been incarcerated at the Fed Med since 2002 and suffered from mental disease, was found dead on the floor of his jail cell on January 26, 2010.
It took jurors about an hour to return with the verdicts.  They will now decide whether Hall and Coonce should receive a death sentence or life without the possibility of parole. 

UPDATE 06-03-14:

A federal jury has sentenced both Coonce and Hall to death.

United States Attorney Tammy Dickinson of the Western District of Missouri made the announcement.
          “Two federal inmates senselessly killed another inmate, and today, they have been brought to justice,” said Assistant Attorney General Caldwell.  “The Justice Department is committed to ensuring the safety and security of all Bureau of Prisons employees and inmates.” 
“Achieving justice sometimes requires us to ask our citizens to make the most difficult sentencing decisions,” said U.S. Attorney Dickinson.   “We appreciate their patience and commitment throughout trial.  The defendants’ conduct strikes at the heart of our justice system, which depends upon the safety and security of our penal institutions.  Mr. Castro was targeted for murder, in part, because he intervened to help a Bureau of Prisons employee as he was being attacked by another inmate.” 
        Wesley Paul Coonce Jr., 34, and Charles Michael Hall, 43, who are both inmates at the U.S. Medical Center for Federal Prisoners, were found guilty on May 7, 2014, of one count of murder in the first degree.  Coonce was also found guilty of one count of murder by an inmate serving a life sentence.  The trial began on April 28, 2014, before U.S. District Judge Gary A. Fenner of the Western District of Missouri.
        The evidence presented at trial demonstrated that another inmate at the prison medical center, Victor Castro-Rodriguez, 51, was found dead on the floor of his cell on Jan. 26, 2010, and had been murdered by Coonce and Hall.  At the time of the murder, Coonce was serving a life sentence for a kidnapping and carjacking that involved the brutal rape of a young woman, and Hall was serving a combined 194-month sentence from the District of Maine for making threatening communications against a federal judge and a federal prosecutor. 


Angela Coonce said...

The bible says.tho shall not kill this means everyone. My Brother Wesley to has problems and has since a child. My heart hurys due too all of this and I pray the lord has mercy on him and that the faily forgives him. : ( I love u Wesley and I forgive u lil bro... May God be with us all.

ruthmattson said...

I am curious to get more information on this because I knew Mr. Hall in the previous years and the man I knew would have NO WAY done what this blog claims. I am curious what evidence links him? I'm sorry to the family and I'm curious what the real reason was for the incarceration because unsafe due to mental illness is not a legal reason for incarceration.
I think personally before someone blogs information that isn't even put public in the news they should fully get the details. And for the sake of giving him a life, MR. Hall can be listed as being from Maine!

Kathee Baird said...

@ruthmattson - I got my information from a news release from the Attorney for the Western District of Missouri. Her name is Beth Phillips.

I'm sorry that your friend allegedly murdered another prisoner while locked up at the Fed-Med, but the indictment I received and reported on was brushed under the rug for several months and only after repeated requests was it made available to those of us in the media here.

If you read the last paragraph it states that Hall was mailing threatening letters, for which he is federally incarcerated, in Maine.

And for the record, the information contained in this story, which also appeared in the newspaper I write for, is public record.


ruthmattson said...

Ironically aside from your blog and the indictment being found online I haven't found anything else that screams hey this is a big thing and was made a show of in the news media. Ya it says Hall made was mailing threatening letters it fails to say those letter were mailed while incarcerated in a county jail, meaning there was no way for him to act on any of the threats!
I was asking for the reason behind the deceased's incarceration because mental health alone is NOT a reason!

Be sure you continue to follow the story since you started it, because the FBI is contacted people and when this goes to trial there is apt to be alot of things that come out! Don' be sorry to me that my friend was accused or even indicted of murder, be sorry that that the system continues to fail and we citizens do nothing about it! Be sorry that half a story was put out. If you are going to take the time to know what Coonce was put in for and his history take the time to know Halls history because you have made him as a man of mystery by including his name and merely a simple statement of his reason for initial incarceration. I have rarely witnessed such shotty reporting.
But it is the fault of the news media that criminals, mental health cients and the such are viewed in the way they are by society and it's all because of "what sells" and not because the news media wants to get "the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth" out there anymore.

Kathee Baird said...

WOW....you don't think it's a big deal that two men allegedly murdered a man while locked up in a federal prison!?!?!

It was covered by several news agencies here, don't know why you can't find any of their stuff.

Covering federal court is a bit of a challenge and I'm not sure if I will know of a trial date. In all probability if this case is like most others in the fed system it will probably result in some sort of plea.

I will make sure that when there is a resolution the story is updated.

ruthmattson said...

Apparently you don't pay attention to what was said, maybe that is why this was so cheaply written initially! I never said it wasn't a big deal that two men were indicted for murdering another prisoner. I noticed you never responded to my question about the deceased and why he was in prison but don't worry I have had the FBI explain it to me so I understand it even though the comprehension behind it makes absolutely NO SENSE.
So maybe you could enlighten us on why or how someone that has a mental capacity of a child finds himself in FL and then ends up in the prison system as an institutionalized man and not a convicted man in Missouri and not in a mental health facility where proper attention and care could be given? Is the south really that stupid?
It's funny you said this was covered by many agencies because no matter how I look I can't seem to find any other stories. If you are aware of any please do share.
I'll inform you the dates are set in June and July but not sure exact dates or who will be when. That way you can mark your calendar and follow up.
I'm not sure if the victims family has seen your blog but I would like to offer my condolences and also my graditude and they may know why I say that. It is saddening for their loss and the manner of which it occured and although the actions of whoever may have caused this result I strongly believe the system should hold SOME type of responsibility for placing this man into a dangerous situation to begin with. Ignorance is not a defense for any identity.

Kathee Baird said...

"Ironically aside from your blog and the indictment being found online I haven't found anything else that screams hey this is a big thing and was made a show of in the news media."

Your words...not mine.

I think many people think it's a "big thing" that two men allegedly murdered another man, especially while locked up.

I can only tell you what was told to me by Warden Anderson about Mr. Castro-Rodriquez's incarceration, "he was dangerous due to mental illness."

What did the FBI tell you?

What is your connection to Mr. Hall?

I know other news agencies covered this. If you call them maybe they can email you their file copies. KY3 417-268-3000 or KSPR - 417-831-1234 or KTTS - 417-869-2153


ruthmattson said...

You know you are more than welcome to twist my words as you like if you think it makes you look more credible somehow but from what I have seen you know minimal about this total situation and you are blogging about it without giving full details. Even what I was able to locate from KY3 and KTTS online by looking up the victim it doesn't appear that any of you took the time to dig for information you all simply went with the basics. That's bad reporting and is exactly why people get bad tastes in their mouth for groups of people because of the way media reports on them.

http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/1999/November/544crm.htm there's your federal charges that put Mr. Hall into federal custody (be sure to note paragraph 4, this supports what I stated already). The simple breaking and entering story isn't online from approx. 2 years prior to which he had been sitting in jail the entire time.

http://articles.ky3.com/2010-01-28/homicide_24121295 here they list Mr. Castro-Rodriquez as having been initially arrested for assault and resisting arrest. Must have been a major assault since he had been in there for 8 years. Mind you the other part is that supposidly he was not a convicted man but an institutionalized man. Who knows maybe no one really knows why he was sitting in a federal prison with criminals, but if I were his family I would CERTAINLY look into this; unless they didn't care that he was housed in a building of criminals and not in a building of mentally ill consumers that require different care than criminals.

http://lubbockonline.com/stories/062102/sta_062102064.shtml and here's Mr. Coonce's story, short but very cut and dry.

Seeings minimal information has been given I will not share what the FBI and I shared unless they authorize it. This is still an open case that has not appeared for trial yet. As for your inquiry of my connection with Mr. Hall, I simply knew him before incarceration and have had sporadic contact with him since his incarceration.

I think there are alot of factors that have been kept out of things, whether it is reporters not asking the right questions, not talking to the right people or maybe it is simply that the prison system is trying to save their own skin in some manner or even simply that NO ONE wants to take the time to do the research to know each angle before they voice their own opinions.
I can't say if Mr. Coonce is capable of such a malicious crime but his history says there is probability. I can say that Mr. Hall has no previous criminal record of physical harm to others. I don't know if Mr. Castro-Rodriquez was a threat or merely a man with mental illness that the state/government/family didn't know what to do with. I'll wait to learn more before I decide on these things. However, I am one that advocates when advocation is needed, and I believe it is for not just Mr. Castro-Rodriquez (just with the bare facts) but also for Mr. Hall.
If there are any family or friends that do read this page I would be interested in speaking with them. I can be reached through email at rmattson@kvcc.me.edu, this is my school address where I am finishing up an Associate degree in Mental Health. I hold an Associate degree for criminal justice already. Any and all correspondance may be shared with the FBI if they have interest in it.
Whatever way this case unfolds, my hope is that it is based on TRUTH and not based on fabrication or misled details and opinions.

Kathee Baird said...

I understand that you believe Mr. Hall has some sort of mental illness, but how do you not get that he made threats against a former president and U.S. Attorney?

Locked up or not, a threat is a threat.

I look forward to attending the trial. Please let me know the date.


ruthmattson said...

I get that he made threats... and when did I say that I thought he had a mental illness? pleased to see you FIXED your blog.
Have fun I'm done with this circus.

Anonymous said...

What ever happend to the two men that murdered the inmate?

Anonymous said...

What was the outcome did wesley get the death penalty?

Ruth said...

It is still pending trial because of personal issues with some of the attorneys and failure to do thorough investigation! As of current the new date won't be until next year (2013).