JOLIET (CBS) — A Chicago man earned his second life prison sentence Wednesday, pleading guilty to the first-degree murder of his prison cell mate.

Richard Conner, 40, admitted he strangled 37-year-old Jameson Leezer to death while the men shared a cell at Stateville Correctional Center in Crest Hill.

Will County Judge Richard Schoenstedt said he had no choice in sentencing Conner, who is already serving life for a 1991 murder in Cook County.

Leezer was found dead in his cell in April 2009, prosecutors said, after Conner told them he’d killed his “celly.”

Officials have said they believe Leezer, who was white, and Conner, who is black, got into a fight about race.

Though Conner was serving a life sentence for murder, officials said Leezer was a “short-timer” serving a five-year sentence for possession of a stolen motor vehicle in Iroquois County.

He’d lived part of his life in Bolingbrook and Joliet, and he was set to be released 16 days after his death.

“They were a very poor choice of roommates to be housed together,” a source said.

Prosecutors wanted to seek the death penalty for Conner until Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation last year to abolish it.

Records show Conner now is being held at the Tamms Correctional Center, the state’s “supermax” prison.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2012. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)