USDB in the News – Hearing Begins for Alleged Baseball Bat Murderer

There’s an Article 32 hearing underway involving the USDB! (Not involving Russ, of course, but interesting nevertheless.)

On the off-chance that you love juicy prison gossip as much as I do, here’s some background information on the hearing:

Photo of Michael Fricke from NBC Action News story

On July 24, 2010, inmate Michael Fricke was assaulted by a fellow inmate, Steven Chapman, while playing baseball on a guarded recreational field. Fricke was taken to the hospital and a few days later on July 29, his family shut off his life support. The story of his death broke in local news outlets in the following days. According to local news sources, Fricke was about a month away from release.

News coverage of the incident in the Leavenworth Times notes that Fricke was a Trusty inmate at the USDB. I don’t know if the Trusty unit is separate from the rest of the USDB housing units, but I do know that Trusty inmates are the ones you see cleaning up the highways and manning the stations at the Leavenworth barber shop.

In the Article 32 hearing, which is still underway and may take weeks, “[Special Agent Nicholas Kreiner] said there also was evidence that Fricke at one point had been an informant at the prison.”

The hearing has also revealed that Fricke was umpiring and the pitcher wasn’t doing so hot. The pitcher may have been a good friend of Chapman’s who commenced his assault on Fricke as he stepped up to the plate. During the hearing, the pitcher was “described as someone who had influence over some of the other inmates,” a.k.a. a “heavy” in prison parlance. Perhaps Fricke was making unflattering comments about the pitchers athletic abilities. Even so, I can’t imagine old-fashioned smack was the root cause of the assault which will no doubt land Chapman back in maximum custody (no more baseball games for that guy during his 23hr/day lockdown).

Makes me wonder who Fricke was informing on…mayhaps the pitcher?

Fricke was in the USDB because he pled guilty in 1988 to charges of hiring a hit-man to kill his wife, Roxanne Fricke (links to news stories below).

Chapman is serving a life sentence for attempted murder, rape, sodomy and burglary after he attacked a fellow airman’s wife in February, 2001.


Lubbock Avalanche Journal, Cannon Airman Gets Life, Airman Court-Martial Set

Topeka, NBC


3 thoughts on “USDB in the News – Hearing Begins for Alleged Baseball Bat Murderer

    • I was there. It was a hit … had nothing to do with the softball game. Mike Fricke was a friend of mine … a good man. The USDB is a corrupt institution … “leaks” that Fricke was an informant serve only to let them off the hook.

  1. I was in the DB. N Pod half of my time and the SHU the other half. I remember we called it “going downstairs”. I also remember Chapman and Trickle. I got along well with Chapman well. SQUIRREL.

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