How a Murderer Became a Monk

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The priest who befriended Clayton Fountain, the most violent murderer in the prison system's history, has told the unlikely story of how the killer became a monk.

Roman Catholic priest Paul Jones and family brother in the Trappist order, wrote 'A Different Kind of Cell: The Story of a Murderer Who Became a Monk', a book which delves into his unlikely relationship with Fountain.

The killer of five men, who was condemned to live out his days in solitary confinement in a steel and concrete cell built especially for him, astonishingly made a remarkable religious conversion.

The gripping book tells how the author and others worked to redeem this vicious killer’s wasted life.

And it argues that Fountain's rehabilitation, which saw him transform into a 'well-educated, articulate monk' is evidence that the death penalty should be abolished.

Fr W. Jones says in a Huffington Post blog; 'I was pulled, in spite of myself, into the vortex of Clayton's unfolding drama - functioning first as his unintended spiritual director, gradually becoming a companion and eventually a friend in his unbelievable spiritual pilgrimage.'

Fountain, who died from a heart attack at the age of 49 in 2004, was born into a military family at Fort Benning and he himself entered the armed services.

His deadly spiral began when he murdered his sergeant in Vietnam after a violent fight in the 1970s.

Fountain's attempt to escape prosecution involved a stand-off with a SWAT team, but he was eventually captured and jailed.

The book details how Fountain's transfer into successively heightened security prisons only intensified his apparently untouchable incorrigibility -  landing him at Federal Penitentiary at Marion.

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