South Bay inmate charged in beating death of cellmate

A former inmate at the South Bay House of Correction in Boston is facing a murder charge in the beating death of his 25-year-old cellmate there in December, authorities said.

A Suffolk County grand jury on Tuesday returned an indictment charging Leslie Jurczuk, 51, with murder in the death of Alexander Callahan, formerly of West Roxbury, District Attorney Daniel F. Conley’s office said in a statement.

Jurczuk, formerly of South Boston, allegedly delivered fatal injuries to Callahan’s head and neck during an altercation inside their cell on Dec. 2 last year in Unit 42, a low-security unit within the jail, the statement said.

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At the time of Callahan’s death, he was serving a one-year sentence for assault, while Jurczuk was serving two-and-a-half years for domestic assault and battery, according to Conley’s office.

A spokesman for Conley declined comment when asked what touched off the altercation between the two men.

Callahan was scheduled to be released on June 7, officials said at the time of his death.

Jurczuk had been arrested last March after witnesses said they saw him beating a woman with a metal pipe in a backyard and possibly dragging her inside a house on Mayfield Street in Dorchester, according to Boston police.

No one answered when responding officers knocked on the door, but they entered and found a 40-year-old woman who was treated for her injuries at the scene, a police spokesman said at the time of Jurczuk’s arrest in that case.

He is expected to be arraigned on the murder charge later this month in Suffolk Superior Court.

Jurczuk was transferred to the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley in January, said a spokesman for the Suffolk Sheriff’s Department.