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Md. inmate from Conn. gets 30 years for cellmate's murder at prison near Cumberland


CUMBERLAND, Maryland — A Maryland prison inmate is getting 30 years added to his sentence for killing his cellmate at the maximum-security North Branch Correctional Institution near Cumberland.

Forty-four-year-old Vernon Lee Cowan was sentenced after pleading guilty Tuesday to second-degree murder in Allegany County Circuit Court. He had been charged with first-degree murder in the slaying of 51-year-old Ricky Bailey in February 2013.

Bailey died of blunt force injuries and wounds from a razor blade.

Prosecutors say Cowan killed Bailey because he wanted a single cell. The men had recently been assigned as cellmates.

Cowan had been serving a 60-year sentence for killing his girlfriend, Whitney Bass, in Waterbury, Connecticut, in 2008. He was transferred to Maryland under an interstate prisoner agreement.

Bailey was serving a life sentence for a Baltimore County rape.

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