Roberto Venegas Fernandez, Inmate, Brutally Killed Cell Mate To Stay In Prison: Cops

11/28/2013 04:01 pm ET

An Arizona prison inmate who was approaching his release date apparently didn't want to leave, so killed his cell mate to keep staying in prison, cops said.

Roberto Venegas Fernandez, 43, is accused of brutally murdering 55-year-old Michael Patrick McNaughton on Saturday, KPHO reported.

Sheriff Paul Babeu said Fernandez choked, then stomped McNaughton to death, according to the Associated Press.

"Roberto wanted to find a way to stay in jail, so while the victim was sitting on his bed, he choked him until he fell onto the ground, then stomped on his head and continued to choke the victim until he was presumed dead," Babeu said in a statement.

Although investigators initially thought the killing stemmed from a fight between the two cell mates, Fernandez reportedly told detectives that he enjoyed being in prison, and didn't want to be released because he had nowhere else to go.

According to WFSP, Fernandez -- originally from Mexico -- was convicted for committing a sex crime in the U.S.

Fernandez's victim, McNaughton, was sentenced to more than 6 years in prison after pleading guilty to a child pornography charge.

Pinal County Sheriff's Office Spokesman Tim Gaffney said the sheriff's office was asking that a first-degree murder charged be filed against the suspect.

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