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SCI-Camp Hill inmate charged with homicide in the death of cellmate from Towanda

Police have charged 26-year-old David Grier with the death of 39-year-old Joel Vanderpool.
Credit: WNEP

CAMP HILL, Pa. — An SCI-Camp Hill inmate is facing homicide charges after police say he killed his cellmate in a fight.

Police have charged 26-year-old David Grier with the death of 39-year-old Joel Vanderpool.

According to police reports, around 2:40 a.m. on May 4, a correctional officer was making his rounds in a cell block when he saw Grier standing against his cell door, telling the officer that his cellmate Vanderpool had stabbed him. Grier claimed he had acted in self defense.

At this point, two officers said they were able to see Vanderpool unresponsive on the floor of the cell. They pulled him out of the cell and started CPR. Officers said they were able to feel a weak pulse from Vanderpool, saw his face was swollen, and that Grier had a stab wound from a pencil in his side.

Lower Allen Township EMS arrived on the scene, but lifesaving measures were unsuccessful; Vanderpool was pronounced dead at 3:27 a.m.

One of the corrections officers said that, after questioning him if the stab wound was self-inflicted, Grier said it was, though Vanderpool made him do it, police say. 

According to an investigating officer, Grier said in an interview that he went to use the bathroom early in the morning and had woken up Vanderpool.

Grier said this is when the two began to argue, leading to a fight where the two punched and grappled with each other, ending with Grier choking Vanderpool until he stopped moving, ending the fight, according to reports. 

The Cumberland County Coroner's Office ruled the death of Vanderpool a homicide after an autopsy determined he died of multiple traumatic injuries.

Vanderpool was serving a one- to six-year sentence for drug manufacture/sale/deliver or possession with intent to deliver out of Bradford County. 

He had been an inmate at SCI-Camp Hill since April 12.

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