Lifelong feud reignited by poker game, ends in prison stabbing

Michael Darryl Henry, a 42-year-old inmate at the Maryland House of Correction Annex in Jessup, Maryland, saw another ten years added to his current sentence of life plus 61 years after a Circuit Court jury convicted him of manslaughter in the January 2002 murder of another inmate following a poker game.

Henry was given the maximum sentence for manslaughter for the violent stabling of fellow inmate Lorenzo Hazel. The murder was captured by a prison surveillance camera, and showed that Hazel was unarmed when Henry and two accomplices attacked him and stabbed him 74 times.

According to court records Henry and Hazel grew up together and had apparently been feuding for years. Their lifelong rivalry was rekindled following a January 6, 2002, poker game where Hazel lost money to other inmates, including Henry. It is alleged that the following day Hazel instructed his cellmate to stab Henry in the shower. Following the incident, Henry found Hazel alone in the prison's day room and began to attack him with homemade knives as his friends, Wade Clark Jr. and William Stewart, looked on.

Henry pleaded guilty to manslaughter in 2004. On the morning of his sentencing, he revealed, "Once I got the chance, I lost it." According to his lawyer, William Purpura, "If it took 74 times, as brutal as that sounds, Michael Henry had no other recourse." Mr. Purpura based his defense on the premise his client would have eventually been killed by the deceased had he not acted first. Neither of Henry's accomplices have been tried.

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