Friday, January 18, 2008

Man charged in prison murder

Stephen Brent McNeeley, 33, is accused of killing his cellmate at Charlotte Correctional Institution

The cellmate of a slain prisoner was arrested Wednesday. Stephen Brent McNeeley, 33, faces a charge of second-degree murder.

On Sept. 11, 2007, an officer at Charlotte Correctional Institution was walking from cell to cell after dinner to see if any inmates wanted to go to the day room to socialize. At 4:44 p.m., he came upon the cell shared by McNeeley and Richard Seccia, 69, both of whom were in close custody serving life sentences. Seccia was dead inside the locked cell.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement processed the scene, the Charlotte County Medical Examiner conducted an autopsy and the Florida Department of Corrections conducted an investigation. McNeeley was transported to the Charlotte County Jail and booked Wednesday.

"He was arrested and is a suspect in the murder of Mr. Seccia," said Jo Ellyn Rackleff, a Department of Corrections spokeswoman. She said no more information was being released.

The Georgia native is already serving a life sentence for a series of crimes in Pinellas County: six counts of armed burglary, four counts of armed robbery and six counts of kidnapping. At the 1999 sentencing, he also received a 10-year sentence for aggravated battery, grand theft, trafficking in stolen property and introduction of contraband into a correctional facility.

Prior to his current term, McNeeley spent three years in prison from 1994 to 1997 for an armed robbery charge in Pinellas County.

"Junkie Slim," numbered 956866 by the prison system, has 51 disciplinary actions on his record. The charges include disrespect to officials, arson, assault, tampering with a security device and committing an obscene or profane act.

Seccia -- number 053830 -- had a longer list of disciplinary actions. Since his term of incarceration began in 1996, he racked up 186 incidents, including unarmed assault, refusing to work and disobedience. Seccia was incarcerated for the third and final time for sexual battery on a victim under the age of 12 and two counts of lewd and lascivious assault on a victim under the age of 16. The crimes occurred in Duval County.

According to Department of Corrections records, Seccia had only one tattoo. It was a heart on his arm with the word "Mom."

You can e-mail Carolyn Quinn at

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