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Man pleads guilty, mentally ill

December 12, 2017 GMT

A Cartersville man, who gained viral fame for his profanity-laden exchange with a Floyd County Superior Court judge, pleaded guilty but mentally ill to the murder of his cellmate in 2015 and was sentenced to life without parole.

Denver Fenton Allen, 33, decided to enter a guilty plea after Judge Billy Sparks denied a motion in which Allen claimed he killed Stephen Rudolph Nalley in self-defense.

Not only was the act premeditated, Floyd County Assistant District Attorney Luke Martin said, Allen then used the killing of the much smaller man to pump himself — and his reputation — up at the jail. “He didn’t punch the biggest guy in the room, he waited until little Stephen Nally went to sleep,” Martin said. “And then he bashed Stephen Nalley’s head in ... then he went around the jail and bragged about killing his cellmate.”

This wasn’t the first time Allen had a hearing and attempted to enter a guilty plea, at one time telling a judge he just wanted to get it over with. Local attorney Dan Morgan, Allen’s public defender, argued the 33-year-old Cartersville man was unable to assist with his own defense. He’d been temporarily declared unfit for trial and sent to Central State Prison in Milledgeville for a lengthy evaluation.

The state evaluation stated he was fit for trial but did suffer from delusions and schizophrenia, among other maladies.

When he was brought back to court Allen continued the same physically and sexually threatening courtroom behavior that gained him an amount of fleeting fame.

In June 2016, the transcript of a heated exchange with Superior Court Judge Bryant Durham was made into a cartoon video that quickly went viral.

Durham recused himself from the case and gave a public apology for his part in the exchange.

Allen had been housed in the Floyd County Jail by Bartow County after he’d threatened several deputies and the Bartow County sheriff. He was only in the Floyd County Jail five days when he killed Nalley.

“He’s a dangerous person,” Martin said. “He needs to be in prison until he dies.”

Before his most recent incarceration, Allen had burglarized homes in a Bartow neighborhood and said he’d go back and, instead of breaking into homes, would go on a killing spree in that neighborhood, Martin said.

“We were really pleased with the court’s decision,” District Attorney Leigh Patterson said. “He is the kind of inmate who really absolutely never needs to get out.”