Cellmate’s Trial Begins in Fatal Jail Stabbing Case

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On March 26, Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Jeannie J. Hong presided over opening statements in the trial of a man accused of fatally stabbing a fellow Maryland Department of Corrections inmate in his cell.

Khalil Madden is charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, possession of a deadly weapon with intent to injure and possession of a weapon while confined or detained in connection to Shane Burton’s 2021 death.

Madden’s codefendant and former cellmate, Cristino Flores-Perez, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder for Burton’s death and was sentenced to 40 years. Flores-Perez also pleaded guilty to stabbing his cousin to death in 2019. 

The prosecutor told jurors on Aug. 27, 2021, only one correctional officer was monitoring the inmates at the Maryland Reception, Diagnostic and Classification Center (MRDCC) prison facility on the 500 block of East Madison Street. Video surveillance allegedly captured 33-year-old Burton walking into Flores-Perez and Madden’s shared cell, but not the fatal incident itself. 

After 10 minutes, Madden left with a cut on his hand; Flores-Perez had scratches on him. And documents from the District Court of Maryland state Burton sustained seven stab wounds and nine cutting wounds. 

“What happened in that cell was murder,” the prosecutor said. 

Defense attorney Staci Pipkin told jurors, “That’s one version,” referring to her opposing counsel’s opening statement. 

She said Burton was known to be aggressive and had argued with Madden’s cellmate the day before. She contested the length of time Madden was allegedly in the cell, saying it was more like three minutes and not ten, arguing her client did not participate. 

The two makeshift stabbing weapons were recovered in the victim’s hand and in Flores-Perez’s effects, she said. After dressing his wound in the showers, Pipkin said her client walked around the unit looking for a correctional officer in a prison she described as understaffed.

“It’s kind of disgraceful,” she said, that Madden had such difficulty finding aid. 

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