'I'm sure you have questions about why it happened' — Wakefield given second life sentence

·3 min read

A former SCI-Somerset lifer was given a second sentence Friday afternoon for the brutal killing of his cellmate on Jan. 9, 2018.

Dale Wakefield was escorted from the Somerset County Courthouse after his sentencing to life in state prison.
Dale Wakefield was escorted from the Somerset County Courthouse after his sentencing to life in state prison.

Dale Wakefield, 29, who represented himself at trial, was found guilty by a jury Aug. 18. He was convicted of killing of his cellmate, 25-year-old Joshua Steven Perry.

Both men were housed in the restricted housing unit in the SCI at Somerset when the incident occurred, according to court documents.

Wakefield was convicted of first-degree murder, assault by life prisoner and aggravated assault, all felonies. First-degree murder and assault by life prisoner both have life sentences, and he was given an 84- to 168-month sentence for aggravated assault.

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Perry's family members who attended the sentencing did not want to comment on the sentencing.

In an emotional statement in open court, however, Perry's mother spoke in halted sentences about how Wakefield's crushing acts against her son was also crushing acts against the entire Perry family.

Perry was found under his bed by a corrections officer. His hands bound behind his back and a sheet was wrapped around his neck.

Perry was confirmed dead by prison medical staff. Wakefield was in the cell at the time of the discovery, state police said.

Perry's mother talked of not being in control of so many things, including what her son's death and its devastating impact will mean to the family's future.

"I'm still in a different position, of course, for the rest of my life," she said, fighting tears. She then returned from the podium where she spoke to the arms of her family sitting in a front row in the courtroom.

When Perry was killed, Wakefield was in prison serving a life sentence without parole for a conviction in Bucks County. He was accused of stabbing a homeless veteran 71 times near a train station outside Philadelphia in 2013, according to published reports.

His second victim, Perry, was serving a five- to 11-year state prison sentence in a child abuse case. He entered the prison in 2015.

Evan Anthony Lowry II, who prosecuted the case for the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General, said that Perry's mother's statement "eloquently demonstrated the impact of the defendant's horrific action against her son."

Tiffany Stanley, the public defender's office director, was the court-appointed standby counsel to assist Wakefield. She did not speak at the sentencing.

Wakefield did. He was calm when he faced the judge.

"This is certainly a tragedy," he said. He then turned and addressed Perry's family with the consent of Judge Scott Bittner.

"I'm sure you have questions about why it happened," he said, adding that he would be available to discuss that with the family at any time.

There was total silence in the courtroom.

Dale Wakefield was returned to state prison Friday to serve another life sentence in the death of his cellmate.
Dale Wakefield was returned to state prison Friday to serve another life sentence in the death of his cellmate.

Then Bittner sentenced him.

Follow Judy D.J. Ellich on Twitter at @dajudye

This article originally appeared on The Daily American: Former Somerset inmate to serve another life term in death of cellmate

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