Shelby County inmate indicted on murder charges for death of cellmate

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Daniel Smith. Photo: SCSO

SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. — An inmate at the Shelby County Penal Farm is accused of beating his cellmate to death.

Daniel Smith, 36, has been indicted on first-degree murder charges for the death of Leonard Nelson, 22, which happened in May 2016.

The District Attorney’s Office said the two got into an argument before Smith fatally beat Nelson in the head and neck. The DA’s Office said he also slit his throat with a razor after killing him.

Nelson had been dead for hours in their cell by the time authorities discovered the death, according to the DA’s Office.

Investigators originally were told Nelson killed himself, but evidence showed otherwise, according to the DA’s Office.

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