Missouri prisoner charged in fellow inmate's death

CAMERON, Mo. | A Western Missouri Corrections Center prisoner faces a potential life sentence from charges stemming from the death of a fellow inmate.

After an investigation that involved the FBI, Donald L. Belford, 31, of Spanish Lake, Mo., was charged with second-degree murder, a class A felony, which carries imprisonment from 10 to 30 years to a life sentence, the Cameron Police Department announced Wednesday.

The charges are related to the April 16 death of Pascual Herrera IV, 27, an inmate who was serving a six-year sentence for felony convictions out of Cass and Camden counties.

Herrera was found unconscious and unresponsive when an ambulance crew arrived on the scene. He was transported by ambulance to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead later that evening.

The Jackson County medical examiner's office ruled the preliminary cause of death as homicide from blunt-force trauma to the head and neck. A final autopsy report isn't expected for three months.

The death prompted corrections officials to restrict inmate movement at the medium-security prison while an investigation was taking place by the Cameron Police Department, Department of Corrections office of inspector general, DeKalb County coroner's office and special agents with the FBI.

Belford is serving a 12-year sentence for first-degree assault and armed criminal action out of St. Louis County, and second-degree trafficking narcotics out of the city of St. Louis. He is being held on a $250,000 bond for the murder charge.

It is unclear if there was any communication between the two inmates. Representatives for the Cameron Police Department and Missouri Department of Corrections were not available for comment. The Herrera family asked not to be interviewed.