Prisoner kills cellmate because of his sexual orientation

MUNISING — On July 18th, 2017, Deshawn Madden, 23, was transferred to the Alger Correctional Facility in Munising Township. Madden was placed in a cell with Rodriguez Burks, 23.

Two days after his Madden’s transfer, Burks was dead. On July 20th, approximately two hours before Burks’ death, Madden had asked prison counselor Karen Prunick for a transfer to another cell.

“He did ask me if he could move that day,” said Prunick. He told me that I (Madden) am bunking with a homosexual. I’m not into that, I don’t like it. I’m not into that,” testified Prunick.

Just before 2:00 p.m., prison clothes Burks requested were never picked up by him. Corrections officer Lewis Eiseman thought it was odd that from their cell, Madden said Burks didn’t want his package.
Eiseman went to investigate.

“I proceeded to go down to the cell. I noticed there was a bundle of blankets in the bottom bunk and I asked him (Madden), ‘what did you do?’ He said, ‘I told you guys to move me.’ I then told him to turn around and put his hands behind his back,” said Eiseman.

“I grabbed his arm, checked for a pulse, he was sweaty, real slippery sweaty. And I just looked at Officer Eiseman and said he’s dead,” said corrections officer Donald Peer.

Officers found an unconscious Burks wrapped up in sheets and blankets. Burks was pronounced dead later that day.

Madden was taken to an isolation room, where he was read his Miranda Rights. After Madden asked for a lawyer, detectives with the Michigan State Police did not interrogate him.

Before leaving, Madden did say something to them about living with Burks.

“He (Madden) wanted to get out of his cell; he was concerned about rumors and things getting around,” said D/Sgt. Jeremy Hauswirth of the Michigan State Police. “And then he said something to the effect of ‘he touched my TV’ and that was the end of it,” said Hauswirth about his brief conversation with Madden.

An autopsy revealed Burks died of blunt force trauma to the head. Madden, who is charged with first-degree murder, was bound over to circuit court.

He’s due back in court October 4th for a pretrial conference.