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Prison Inmate Deaths

Inmate Killed in Fight at High Desert Prison

December 17, 2010
8NewsNow.com

LAS VEGAS -- An inmate was killed Thursday night at the High Desert Prison during a fight with another inmate, according to the Nevada Department of Corrections.

The dead inmate's name has not been released. High Desert Prison is the largest state prison in Nevada.

 

Prison inmate found dead; authorities seek clues

December 19, 2010
Associated Press

COLEMAN — Authorities are investigating the death of an inmate at Coleman Federal Correctional Complex.

Federal Bureau of Prisons spokesman Gary Miller says the inmate was found injured in the recreation yard Saturday evening and was transported to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The inmate’s name has not been released, pending notification of kin.

No other inmates or staff were injured.

Female inmate found dead

Officials unsure if apparent suicide of convicted murderer linked to death pact

George Hunter / The Detroit News
December 28, 2010

Ypsilanti, Michigan — State Police are investigating the apparent suicide of a 34-year-old convicted murderer who was found dead in her prison cell Monday morning with a plastic bag over her head.

The body of Brandy Powell, who was serving a 30- to 50-year sentence in the Huron Valley Correctional Facility after being convicted of second-degree murder in 2007, was reported dead at about 1:10 a.m.

"We contacted the State Police, and they interviewed her cellmate and some other people," Michigan Department of Corrections spokesman Russ Marlan said.

He added the investigation cleared Powell's cellmate of any wrongdoing.

The apparent suicide attempt comes about two months after the prison, the state's only facility for women, was put on heightened alert when it was discovered that several inmates had entered into a suicide pact.

At least 10 women had agreed to kill themselves on either Halloween or Devil's Night, according to officials.

Extra mental health staff was brought into the facility to watch the 1,800 women housed there, and guards were instructed to conduct extra patrol rounds.

A 40-year-old inmate serving a six- to 10-year sentence for assault with intent to do great bodily harm tried to hang herself from her bunk using support hose on Halloween, but because of the heightened security, guards were able to cut her down in time to save her life.

It was unclear whether Powell was among those who had entered into the suicide pact.

On Oct. 8, Amber Marie McIntyre-Roden, a 25-year-old inmate who was serving a sentence of 18-30 years for the July 2008 murder of her 2-month-old daughter, Tamiah McIntyre-Roden, was found hanging by a sheet that had been tied to her cell's air vent.

Police: County prison inmate hangs himself

Lebanon Daily News (Pennsylvania)

A 58-year-old Lebanon County prison inmate behind bars for assault and related offenses hanged himself with a bedsheet on Christmas Eve.

Richard Wagner, 58, Tamaqua, Schuylkill County, used a sheet to hang himself from the top bunk bed rail while inside his cell about 2:45 p.m. Friday, state police at Jonestown said. Once prison staff members discovered him, they performed CPR but were unable to revive him. He was taken by ambulance to the Good Samaritan Hospital and pronounced dead by Dr. Jeffrey Yocum, the county coroner.

Wagner had been incarcerated since North Cornwall Township police charged him Dec. 3 with aggravated assault, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person and terroristic threats, police said. His bail was set at $75,000.

Wagner was charged with threatening a Berks County man Dec. 3 at the Lebanon Treatment Center, then swinging a wooden-handled pickaxe at his head, striking the top of the head and left hip, police said. Wagner fled but was later found by state police.

Inmate Allegedly Killed At Hands Of Fellow Inmate

A spokeswoman with the Colorado Territorial Correctional Facility in Canon City said an inmate was beaten to death Thursday morning.
 
Dec 31, 2010
Reporter: KKTV

A spokeswoman with the Colorado Territorial Correctional Facility in Canon City said an inmate was beaten to death Thursday morning.

James Schneider, 34, was allegedly killed at 4:30 a.m. by a fellow inmate. The suspect has been placed in segregation while the incident is investigated, and his name is not being released at this time. Katherine Sanguinetti, the spokeswoman with the Colorado Department of Corrections, said that the reason for the beating is still unknown.

Schneider was serving a three-year sentence on two counts of forgery and one year for an attempted escape, when Sanguinetti said he walked away from the facility.

Sanguinetti said this was the only time in 2010 that an incident of this manner has occurred, although an inmate was killed in a similar fashion in November of 2009. Sanguinetti said that prior to November 2009, it had been several years since an inmate was killed at the hands of another inmate in any Colorado correctional facility.


 ** UPDATE **

Prison Death Autopsy: Clubbed To Death

James Schneider, 34, Had Multiple Skull Fractures, Brain Hemorrhaging

January 2, 2011
KRDO.com

CANON CITY, Colo. -- A prisoner killed by another inmate at the Colorado Territorial Correctional Facility in Canon City early Thursday morning died of blunt trauma to the head.

An autopsy by the Fremont County Coroner revealed that James Schneider, 34, had multiple skull fractures and brain hemorrhaging due to his injuries.

Schneider was serving a three-year sentence at a medium security prison because of forgery and escape convictions.

The inmate who killed Schneider is not being identified, but a spokesperson for the Department of Corrections said that inmate is in isolation why the investigation is completed. A motive for the crime has not been determined.

 

 

   

Inmate killed in Lea County prison

An inmate from the Lea County Correctional Facility in New Mexico was pronounced dead just after 1:30 p.m. Monday at the Lea Regional Hospital after the Hobbs Police Department responded to a battery call at the prison, a Hobbs police spokesman said.

The incident is being investigated as a homicide, officer Mike Stone said.

Stone said because the investigation is still in the early stages, and the family has not yet been notified, he could not release the name of the victim and did not know how the death happened.

A representative for the correctional facility referred questions to the security warden, who wouldn’t be back until morning.

The facility is operated by The GEO Group, which also operates the Odessa Detention Center and Ector County Correctional Center in Odessa.

 

 



Danger Doesn't Stop Behind Bars: Colorado Prisoner Kills Another Inmate

KREX News Room
Maura Kennedy
Jan 4, 2011

Canon City - Investigators are still looking into why a Colorado prisoner killed another inmate at Colorado Territorial Correctional Facility in Canon City. An autopsy by the Fremont County coroner reveals that inmate 34-year-old James Schneider died of blunt trauma to the head. Not all violence in prison, however, results in death.

According to the Bureau of Justice statistics, almost 30% of state inmates have been injured while in prison.

Handcuffs and locked doors are just some of the techniques used to keep criminals behind bars. And while citizens may be safer for it, the dangerous violence continues even in jail.

"We do have fights from time to time. Most of them are insignificant, and staff catches them right away," Deputy Chris Melnick said.

Just recently, prisoner 34-year-old James Schneider was killed by another inmate in a Colorado prison. According to a University of Texas Justice Study, four out of every 100,000 inmates are murdered at the hands of other offenders.

"Our whole classification system starts as they walk in the door. We get an idea what their behavior is like, their demeanor, whether they're being cooperative. We based it off of charges, and the person's history, whether they've been aggressive in the past," Deputy Melnick said.

Based on that system, Mesa County Detention Center segregates particular inmates. Deputy Melnick said sexual offenders are usually separated from the start since they are most likely to be abused.

"If we do have a fight then of course we segregate those inmates and uhen keep them by themselves, and they'll go through a disciplinary process in house," he said.

Mesa County deputies rarely deal with inmate attacks. They contributed one factor to the inmate checks that are every 30 minutes.

"We have a good monitoring system and classification system that keep aggressive predators away from passive ones. We have fights every other month or so. More so than inmate-on-inmate, our biggest concern is suicide. If they are suicidal, we keep them away from others and away from things that might hurt them. They wear a special outfit with special material so they can't tie it in a noose," Deputy Melnick said.

The most recent case of suicide was about six months ago when 24- year-old Octavio Vargas-Herrera hanged himself. He was accused of stabbing and killing his wife, Jeana in front of their two-year-old daughter. Because Vargas-Herrera was being held on first degree murder charges he was in a cell in the maximum security housing area. Sheriff officials say he was in a cell by himself and not on suicide watch. Since 1992, there have been six suicides inside the Mesa County Jail.

Va. Inmate Indicted in Second Prisoner Murder

January 20, 2011
NewsPlex.com


WISE, Va. (AP)
A Virginia inmate who warned officials he would kill again if not given the death penalty for murdering his cellmate has been indicted for killing a second inmate.

Robert Gleason Jr. was indicted Tuesday for the July 28 murder of Aaron Cooper at Red Onion State Prison.

Gleason told The Associated Press he convinced Cooper to try on a necklace while both were in separate cages in the recreation yard and then he strangled him. Gleason told a judge last month that he would plead guilty to Cooper's murder.

Gleason already is facing the death penalty for the May 2009 murder of his cellmate, Harvey Watson Jr. Gleason pleaded guilty to Watson's murder last year then rescinded his plea. Last month Gleason changed his plea back to guilty. He is set to be sentenced in that case Feb. 22.


Latest comments:

Posted by: Homer
on Jan 20, 2011 at 11:33 AM

Problem solved!  They should let this guy roam gen pop. He'd drastically reduce the numbers and help the overcrowing at the prison.

Prisoner's death investigated as suicide

The death of a New Hampshire State Prison inmate Wednesday night in a medium housing unit is being investigated as an apparent suicide.

Sederic Trevon Bickham, 23, whose last known address was in Dover, was found unresponsive by correctional officers about 8 p.m. in the Medium Housing Unit South, according to New Hampshire Department of Corrections spokesman Jeffrey Lyons.

Bickham had material wound tight around his neck when he was found by corrections officers who tried to revive him, according to Lyons. He was declared dead at the scene by a medical examiner.

State police Major Crime Unit is investigating the untimely death, which appears to be the result of a hanging, Lyons said. He explained it is standard practice for the state police to investigate untimely deaths in the prison.

An autopsy is being performed by the state Medical Examiner.

The prisoner was serving a 3-to-6-year sentence for an aggravated felonious sexual assault conviction out of Strafford County Superior Court. Lyons said he was brought to the prison in September 2006 and was eligible for parole in May 2009 although that had not been granted.

Inmate dies in apparent accident at Goochland women's prison

An inmate at the Virginia Correctional Center for Women in Goochland was killed Wednesday afternoon when a piece of equipment fell on her, said officials.

Larry Traylor
, spokesman for the Virginia Department  of Corrections, identified the victim as Amy Teresea Madsen, 43, who was serving a 21-year sentence for attempted capital murder, robbery, burglary and traffic offenses in Chesapeake and Portsmouth.

Traylor
said the 4 p.m. incident occurred when Virginia Correctional Enterprise employees were repairing commercial laundry equipment at the 600-inmate prison.

Madsen
was trapped under a piece of equipment that apparently fell accidently, he said.

Medical staff responded immediately, he sad. He said all inmates were evacuated from the laundry and the prison was locked down as a security precaution. Fire and rescue units were also called, said Traylor.

Madsen
was taken to the VCU Medical Center in Richmond, where she was pronounced at 5:40 p.m. Next of kin have been notified, said Traylor. The incident is under investigation.

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Inmate Found Dead At Md. Prison Near Cumberland

 February 2, 2011
Meta Pettus
WUSA9.com


CRESAPTOWN, Md. (AP) -- Maryland's prison agency says it's investigating the death of an inmate at the Western Correctional Institution near Cumberland.

The Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services says a staff member of the maximum-security prison found the 41-year-old inmate unresponsive in his cell around 5:15 a.m. Wednesday. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The agency says the cause of death is unknown.

The department says an internal investigative unit is looking into the matter and state police have been notified.

The agency hasn't released the inmate's name. He was serving 11 years for rape and sexual assault.

 

Inmate dies after apparent hanging


By Bridget Flynn
Staff Writer
The News Dispatch
February 8, 2011
WESTVILLE — A Westville Correctional Facility inmate was found dead Friday after apparently hanging himself, according to WCF Superintendent Mark Levenhagen.

Walker Brown, a 30-year-old Marion County resident, was found dead at about 4:45 p.m., Levenhagen said. It was unknown when he died.

Brown was serving a 90-year sentence after being convicted of murder. He had been sentenced in May 2008. His earliest release date was 2032, Levenhagen said. Brown had been at Westville for only a couple of weeks, having been transferred from New Castle Correctional Facility.

Brown was being kept in a long-term segregation unit in the maximum security section of the prison due to his discipline record at other facilities. He was not sharing a cell with anyone, Levenhagen said.


Brown made a “homemade noose” out of a sheet and hanged himself on a TV stand mounted on the wall, Levenhagen said. An officer making rounds for a security check found Brown’s body, Levenhagen said.

This was the first suicide at the prison in at least a year, Levenhagen said, adding he did not know whether Brown gave any indications he was going to commit suicide, which is being investigated.

Before the sentence for the murder conviction, Brown was sentenced to various terms for convictions of theft, robbery, carrying a handgun without a license, burglary and possession of a controlled substance, according to the Indiana Department of Corrections website.

An autopsy was scheduled Monday.

Md. Inmate Dead After TV Attack

February 14, 2011
CBSBaltimore.com

CUMBERLAND, Md. (AP) — Authorities say a state prison inmate is dead after another prisoner bludgeoned him with a television set at the Western Correctional Institution near Cumberland.

Maryland State Police say a correctional officer saw an inmate hitting Timothy Davis, 37, in the head with a TV in a cell Sunday afternoon. He was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

Police wouldn’t identify Davis’ alleged assailant because he hasn’t been charged.

Davis was sentenced in 2007 to 50 years for attempted first-degree murder and drug and handgun violations in Baltimore City.

It was the second slaying at the maximum-security prison this month. The Feb. 2 death of inmate Blas Mata Aguilar also has been ruled a homicide.

 

Prison murder may have been payback

Souza: ‘All I got to say is, 9-year-old girl’

February 9, 2011
Tim Omarzu
Marinscope Newspapers 

What motivated San Quentin inmate Frank Anthony Souza to fatally stab inmate Ed Schaefer of Novato in July of last year in the prison’s “Badger” exercise yard?

Souza may have been paying Schaefer back for killing 9-year-old Melody Osheroff on May 28, 2009, when a drunken Schaefer slammed his Harley-Davidson motorcycle into the Novato girl and her father, Aaron Osheroff, as they walked in a San Marin Drive pedestrian crosswalk.

In a 384-page transcript of a grand jury investigation that was unsealed last week, Correctional Officer William Eberly testified that as he marched Souza from the stabbing scene to the prison’s Triage Treatment Area — where a heavily bleeding Schaefer had been taken by gurney — Souza looked down at the trail of Schaefer’s blood and alluded to Melody Osheroff.

“He was shaking his head and saying, ‘All I got to say is, ‘9-year-old girl,’” Eberly testified. He added that Souza, who had Schaefer’s blood on his hands, pants, socks and legs, was “kind of smirking like he had done a good thing or something.”


Aside from that statement, the grand jury document was light on Souza’s motivations — and long on details about the July 26 stabbing.

The Badger yard features a basketball and handball court and three barber’s chairs at which inmates use electric clippers to cut one another’s hair.

Correctional Officer Ricky Christensen, who mans a gun station there, testified that he shot Souza with a nonlethal, foam-tipped projectile from a 40-millimeter riot gun as Christensen watched Souza come up behind Schaefer, who was looking at the bay, around 10:30 a.m. and strike him from behind with “uppercut” style blows with his right fist.

“The whole thing happened in a matter of seconds,” Christensen testified.

The 110, or so, inmates in the yard — who self-segregate into white, black and Hispanic groups — all got down on their stomachs in a prone position after Christensen fired his riot gun.

Christensen testified that he doesn’t get to know prisoners by name from his vantage point in the gun tower, but he does come to recognize them. He testified that he knew Souza by sight, in part because of the “white power” tattoo that covers Souza’s forehead.


“It’s real distinctive. Yeah, it stands out,” Christensen said.

Christensen was “100 percent positive” that it was Souza who killed Schaefer, District Attorney Ed Berberian later told the grand jury. Christensen said that no other inmates were nearby, and that Souza was easily identifiable as the only, or one of the only, prisoners wearing a distinctive blue sweatshirt, the DA said.

Souza stabbed Schaefer seven times, said forensic pathologist Michael Ferenc, M.D., who did an autopsy of Schaefer five days after his death. Most of the stab wounds were nonlethal, but one cut Schaefer’s right jugular vein and another severed his right carotid artery, the main source of blood for the right half of the brain.

“There was a stab wound to the right side and front of the neck that went in deep and actually cut the carotid artery in half,” Ferenc testified, adding that it’s hard to staunch the bleeding in such a case.

“We can often stop a lot of flow from a cut just by pressing on it. But if it’s … cut in half, and it slips back, it’s hard to stop the flow [and] would probably cause somebody to be dead in a matter of a few minutes,” Ferenc said.

“The typical person has 10 to 13 pints of blood in their bloodstream, and he basically had over twice that replaced, and that’s just at the hospital,” the forensic pathologist testified. At some point after being stabbed, Schaefer suffered a massive stroke that caused the death of the right side of his brain, Ferenc said.

Corrections Officer Frank Cerecedes testified that when he came up to Schaefer in the exercise yard after the attack, “He had both his hands over the right side of his neck, and he looked at me, and [said], ‘Get me off this yard before I bleed to death.’

“Medical did not arrive. We placed the inmate on a gurney and carried him to the hospital,” Cerecedes testified. “We are not trained [to treat] bleeding — active bleeding.”

Corrections officers moved Schaefer about an eighth of a mile through the prison to the Triage Treatment Area, Cerecedes said.

Corrections Officer John Corning testified that at the Triage Treatment Area, an ambulance crew from American Medical Response helped prison employees try to get Schaefer stabilized so he could be taken to Marin General Hospital. Corning went along in the ambulance and “kept pressure on [Schaefer’s] neck during the entire trip.”

At the hospital, “They took him basically almost immediately to surgery to try to repair the damage to his neck,” Corning testified.

Corrections Sgt. Donald McGraw testified that when he saw Schaefer at the hospital at 5 p.m., “One side of his body was twitching, the other — lifeless.” Schaefer was pronounced dead at 9:03 p.m. Family members were present.

The weapon used to kill Schaefer was a “bone crusher,” a stabbing weapon made by cutting out a piece of steel platform under a prisoner’s mattress.

Souza’s bone crusher was 7¼ inches long and 1¼ inch wide, and was sharpened to a point, the transcript stated.

McGraw testified that after the stabbing, he saw a piece of metal was missing from Souza’s bed frame. It takes about eight hours for an inmate to make a bone crusher by etching out the metal with a fingernail file, McGraw said. Inmates also use tooth powder as an abrasive to make the weapon, he testified.

Berberian told the grand jury that the stabbing was premeditated. As evidence of that, he said Souza spent eight hours making the weapon, and he packed his belongings and bed roll that morning because he knew he’d be transferred to a segregation cell after the attack.

Eberly testified: “Normally, when anybody gets involved in a rules violation, they will basically pack their stuff up for us so that we can get all their stuff back to them, so that they don’t lose anything during the transfer. ‘Cause if … their stuff’s not packed up, half of their stuff could possibly get lost when the officer goes in, ’cause we don’t know exactly what their stuff is.”

Eberly said that after the stabbing, Souza told him, “Make sure my stuff gets to me. All my stuff is packed up in a box underneath my [bunk].”

Berberian also told the grand jury that prisoners will sometimes make attacks with a “tomahawk,” or a small razor blade, just to “mark” a foe.

“One stab wound, you know, shows, well, you know, there could have been a beef. But seven stab wounds … shows his intent to seal the deal, to make the killing,” the DA said of Souza’s alleged attack.

Berberian also made the case for charging Souza with “lying in wait,” which makes him eligible for the death penalty.

Souza sneaked up behind Schaefer, and he did so after about an hour in the yard, Berberian told the grand jury.

“Traditionally, around the turn of the century or earlier, you had to actually be hidden, but that’s no longer the case,” the DA said. “You don’t actually have to hide. You can be in plain view as long as your purpose is hidden, and you can do it by ambush or some other secret plan.”

3 Sentenced In Death Of Inmate

February 15, 2011
KCCI.com

CLARINDA, Iowa -- Three inmates at the Clarinda Correctional Facility have been sentenced in the death of a fellow prisoner last summer.

Martin Dahlke, Roland Jacobsen and Jeremy McIntosh were each sentenced Monday in Page County District Court to 10 years in prison. 

They each pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and assault resulting in serious injury in the death of Alfred Myre in a fight in the prison's yard in June 2010.

Dahlke and Jacobsen pleaded guilty in December. Jacobsen entered his plea on Monday.

Charges against a fourth inmate, Richard Martin Jr., were dismissed last week.

The sentences will be served concurrently with the inmates' current prison terms.

Death of inmate at Sterling Prison investigated

February 15, 2011
By Randy Barber
9News

A suspect is being held in connection to the death of another inmate at the Sterling Correctional Facility.

Katherine Sanguinetti, a spokesperson with the Colorado Department of Corrections, says 38-year-old Cleveland Flood was found dead around midnight Saturday. She was unable to say where at the prison the death happened or how Flood died, due to the on-going investigation. She also was unable to release the name of the suspect, but says it is another inmate at the correctional facility.

Sanguinetti says the death is being investigated as a homicide, which is standard procedure at Department of Corrections' facilities.

The Logan County Coroner's Office says an autopsy was conducted on Monday, but the cause of death is pending the result of tests.

Inmate beaten to death in central Georgia Prison

February 22, 2011
Savannahnow.com

MACON, Ga. — Authorities say an inmate was beaten to death during a fight with other prisoners inside the Central State Prison on Monday.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation on Tuesday identified the inmate who was killed as Justin Michael Taylor, 23, whose last address is unknown.

WMAZ-TV reports the fight between Taylor and two other inmates took place after an argument over stolen property. GBI spokesman Craig Rotter said he didn't have details on what was stolen or from whom.

Rotter said Taylor was in prison on a probation violation in connection with a burglary conviction from Camden County. He said no weapons were involved in the fight, and the other two inmates may face charges.

Bibb County Coroner Leon Jones told the Macon Telegraph that an autopsy is planned for Wednesday.

Grisly Prison killing details outlined


Testimony of prison guards key in July 26 Schaefer death, transcripts say

By Tim Omarzu
Marinscope Newspapers
February 16, 2011
What motivated San Quentin inmate Frank Anthony Souza to fatally stab inmate Ed Schaefer of Novato in July of last year in the prison’s “Badger” exercise yard?

Souza may have been paying Schaefer back for killing 9-year-old Melody Osheroff on May 28, 2009, when a drunken Schaefer slammed his Harley-Davidson motorcycle into the Novato girl and her father, Aaron Osheroff, as they walked in a San Marin Drive pedestrian crosswalk.

In a 384-page transcript of a grand jury investigation that was unsealed earlier this month, San Quentin Correctional Officer William Eberly testified that as he marched Souza from the stabbing scene to the prison’s Triage Treatment Area — where a heavily bleeding Schaefer had been taken by gurney — Souza looked down at the trail of Schaefer’s blood and alluded to Melody Osheroff.

“He was shaking his head and saying, ‘All I got to say is, ‘9-year-old girl,’” Eberly testified. He added that Souza, who had Schaefer’s blood on his hands, pants, socks and legs, was “kind of smirking like he had done a good thing or something.”


Aside from that statement, the grand jury document was light on Souza’s motivations — and long on details about the July 26 stabbing.

The Badger yard features a basketball and handball court and three barber’s chairs at which inmates use electric clippers to cut one another’s hair.

Correctional Officer Ricky Christensen, who mans a gun station there, testified that he shot Souza with a nonlethal, foam-tipped projectile from a 40-millimeter riot gun as Christensen watched Souza come up behind Schaefer, who was looking at the bay, around 10:30 a.m. and strike him from behind with “uppercut” style blows with his right fist.

“The whole thing happened in a matter of seconds,” Christensen testified.

The 110, or so, inmates in the yard — who self-segregate into white, black and Hispanic groups — all got down on their stomachs in a prone position after Christensen fired his riot gun.

Christensen testified that he doesn’t get to know prisoners by name from his vantage point in the gun tower, but he does come to recognize them. He testified that he knew Souza by sight, in part because of the “white power” tattoo that covers Souza’s forehead.


“It’s real distinctive. Yeah, it stands out,” Christensen said.

Christensen was “100 percent positive” that it was Souza who killed Schaefer, District Attorney Ed Berberian later told the grand jury. Christensen said that no other inmates were nearby, and that Souza was easily identifiable as the only, or one of the only, prisoners wearing a distinctive blue sweatshirt, the DA said.

Souza stabbed Schaefer seven times, said forensic pathologist Michael Ferenc, M.D., who did an autopsy of Schaefer five days after his death. Most of the stab wounds were nonlethal, but one cut Schaefer’s right jugular vein and another severed his right carotid artery, the main source of blood for the right half of the brain.

“There was a stab wound to the right side and front of the neck that went in deep and actually cut the carotid artery in half,” Ferenc testified, adding that it’s hard to staunch the bleeding in such a case.

“We can often stop a lot of flow from a cut just by pressing on it. But if it’s … cut in half, and it slips back, it’s hard to stop the flow [and] would probably cause somebody to be dead in a matter of a few minutes,” Ferenc said.

“The typical person has 10 to 13 pints of blood in their bloodstream, and he basically had over twice that replaced, and that’s just at the hospital,” the forensic pathologist testified. At some point after being stabbed, Schaefer suffered a massive stroke that caused the death of the right side of his brain, Ferenc said.

Corrections Officer Frank Cerecedes testified that when he came up to Schaefer in the exercise yard after the attack, “He had both his hands over the right side of his neck, and he looked at me, and [said], ‘Get me off this yard before I bleed to death.’

“Medical did not arrive. We placed the inmate on a gurney and carried him to the hospital,” Cerecedes testified. “We are not trained [to treat] bleeding — active bleeding.”

Corrections officers moved Schaefer about an eighth of a mile through the prison to the Triage Treatment Area, Cerecedes said.

Corrections Officer John Corning testified that at the Triage Treatment Area, an ambulance crew from American Medical Response helped prison employees try to get Schaefer stabilized so he could be taken to Marin General Hospital. Corning went along in the ambulance and “kept pressure on [Schaefer’s] neck during the entire trip.”

At the hospital, “They took him basically almost immediately to surgery to try to repair the damage to his neck,” Corning testified.

Corrections Sgt. Donald McGraw testified that when he saw Schaefer at the hospital at 5 p.m., “One side of his body was twitching, the other — lifeless.” Schaefer was pronounced dead at 9:03 p.m. Family members were present.

The weapon used to kill Schaefer was a “bone crusher,” a stabbing weapon made by cutting out a piece of steel platform under a prisoner’s mattress.

Souza’s bone crusher was 7¼ inches long and 1¼ inch wide, and was sharpened to a point, the transcript stated.

McGraw testified that after the stabbing, he saw a piece of metal was missing from Souza’s bed frame. It takes about eight hours for an inmate to make a bone crusher by etching out the metal with a fingernail file, McGraw said. Inmates also use tooth powder as an abrasive to make the weapon, he testified.

Berberian told the grand jury that the stabbing was premeditated. As evidence of that, he said Souza spent eight hours making the weapon, and he packed his belongings and bed roll that morning because he knew he’d be transferred to a segregation cell after the attack.

Eberly testified: “Normally, when anybody gets involved in a rules violation, they will basically pack their stuff up for us so that we can get all their stuff back to them, so that they don’t lose anything during the transfer. ‘Cause if … their stuff’s not packed up, half of their stuff could possibly get lost when the officer goes in, ’cause we don’t know exactly what their stuff is.”

Eberly said that after the stabbing, Souza told him, “Make sure my stuff gets to me. All my stuff is packed up in a box underneath my [bunk].”

Berberian also told the grand jury that prisoners will sometimes make attacks with a “tomahawk,” or a small razor blade, just to “mark” a foe.

“One stab wound, you know, shows, well, you know, there could have been a beef. But seven stab wounds … shows his intent to seal the deal, to make the killing,” the DA said of Souza’s alleged attack.

Berberian also made the case for charging Souza with “lying in wait,” which makes him eligible for the death penalty.

Souza sneaked up behind Schaefer, and he did so after about an hour in the yard, Berberian told the grand jury.

“Traditionally, around the turn of the century or earlier, you had to actually be hidden, but that’s no longer the case,” the DA said. “You don’t actually have to hide. You can be in plain view as long as your purpose is hidden, and you can do it by ambush or some other secret plan.”

Female Inmate dies at Michigan Prison

March 4, 2011
The Argus-Press News

Authorities say a 47-year-old woman in prison for larceny was found dead in an apparent suicide.

Prisons spokesman Russ Marlan says officers found Barbara Gawronski hanging from the back door to her cell Wednesday night at the Huron Valley prison for women. She hadn't been in custody very long after pleading guilty last year to larceny in Livingston County. Her minimum prison sentence was one year.

Marlan says the death is under investigation. He says Gawronski's cellmate was not present at the time.

Marlan says there were three suicides at the women's prison in 2010 and none in 2009.

Prison Inmate, 19, hanged self after 'grossly inadequate' care

March 6, 2011
Mary Beth Pfeiffer
poughkeepsiejournal.com

A 19-year-old inmate at a state prison in Fishkill received "grossly inadequate" mental health care before his suicide and might not have died with appropriate treatment, according to a newly released report by the state Commission of Correction, which investigates prison deaths.

Adam Wheeler, who was imprisoned at 17, hanged himself with a shoelace March 4, 2010, at Downstate Correctional Facility, was revived and died eight days later in St. Luke's Hospital in Newburgh.

"Wheeler received grossly inadequate mental health evaluation, treatment and case management characterized by a nearly complete breakdown in continuity of care," the commission concluded in a stinging report, one of two released to the Poughkeepsie Journal under the Freedom of Information Law. Reports generally take a year or more to complete.

The second report, on the September 2009 suicide at Clinton Correctional Facility of a former correction-officer-turned-inmate, was also harshly critical, concluding that Gary Pfleuger, 38, received "inattentive" mental health care at the Clinton County facility "with multiple changes in treatment regime." It similarly labeled facility care "grossly inadequate."

The findings raise serious questions among prisoner advocates about reforms made to the prison system since the 2007 settlement of a lawsuit over conditions for mentally ill inmates -- a lawsuit that had been prompted by suicides, particularly in solitary confinement. Although 400 treatment beds have been added for seriously ill inmates, the overall number receiving mental health care declined 14 percent from 2008 to 2010, twice as fast as the prison population, the Journal found.

Among other things, the reports called for an investigation of Downstate's care by a separate state agency that monitors treatment of the disabled and a review of all inmates treated by Wheeler's psychologist at another prison.

Officials of the Office of Mental Health, provider of prison psychiatric care, defended their policies and treatment in written responses to the reports. They called psychiatric care at Clinton "satisfactory" and said a second psychiatrist had been hired. But they declined to review the cases of Wheeler's psychologist because she "no longer works" for the agency or to beef up the process to identify troubled inmates at Downstate and elsewhere in response to what they called "one adverse event."

See more of this story at: 

http://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/article/20110306/
NEWS01/103060371/1006/RSS01

 
 

Autopsy: Maine prisoner died of pneumonia

March 9, 2011
Boston.com


WARREN, Maine—Maine prison officials have released the cause of death of an inmate who was found dead in his cell at a minimum-security prison.

Department of Corrections Associate Commissioner Denise Lord told the Bangor Daily News that autopsy results show 29-year-old Ryan Allan Calor of Northfield died of pneumonia at the Bolduc Correctional Facility in Warren.

Calor was found dead during a morning count of prisoners Tuesday morning. He was serving a three-year sentence for burglary and was scheduled to be released in February 2014.

Northern California inmate found dead in cell

Associated Press - March 11, 2011

SUSANVILLE, Calif. (AP) - Officials at a Northern California prison believe an inmate found dead in his cell was killed by his cellmate.

Officials at High Desert State Prison say the inmate was pronounced dead around 9:29 a.m. Thursday after being found unresponsive in his cell. Officials have not released the name of the inmate, but say he was serving 90 years to life on a conviction out of Riverside County for the aggravated sexual assault of a child.

The inmate's cellmate has been identified as prime suspect in his killing. His name has not been released, but officials say he is a 35-year-old inmate serving 64 years to life on a Los Angeles County rape conviction.

High Desert State Prison is located in Susanville in Lassen County. It houses about 4,500 inmates.

Inmate found dead in Muscogee County Prison

Delaware Inmate Dead in Hanging

March 11, 2011
WBOC.com


DOVER, Del. (AP)- Delaware prison officials say an inmate serving a life sentence for first-degree murder has apparently hanged himself.

Officials said 21-year-old Christopher Wallace was pronounced dead at a Dover hospital about 6:30 a.m. Friday.

The cause of death was an apparent suicide by hanging in his cell at the state's maximum-security prison in Smyrna.

Wallace, from Cocoa, Fla., was serving a life sentence plus five years after being convicted of stabbing to death his 9-year-old cousin, Daniel Schlor, in 2005.

Wallace, who was 15 at the time of the killing, was found guilty but mentally ill.

Mercy denied for Ohio man who killed fellow inmate in Cincinnati

March 22, 2011
Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The Ohio Parole Board has rejected mercy for a killer scheduled to die next month for beating to death a fellow jail inmate in Cincinnati while awaiting sentencing for murder.

Investigators say Clarence Carter punched, choked, kicked and stomped on Johnny Allen for at least 30 minutes during a 1988 fight, stopping intermittently to wipe blood from his shoes.

The parole board ruled unanimously Monday that the severity of Carter's crime outweighed any arguments in favor of sparing him.

Carter's lawyers argue it was not a premeditated killing, that Allen likely instigated the fight and that inmate witnesses were unreliable. They say Carter is borderline mentally retarded and had an upbringing that taught violence.

Carter faced execution in 2007 but was spared by a lawsuit challenging lethal injection.

Inmate Uses Bra for Suicide Attempt

March 22, 2011
KiiiTV.com


ALICE ( Kiii News) - A bizarre story now from Alice, where officials say a female inmate at the Jim Wells County Jail used her own bra to try to commit suicide. Sheriff's deputies say this is a first, as far as they know.

Officials at the jail say they confiscate items like shoe strings, belts, even the underwire from bras, and this inmate did have the underwire taken out of her bra, but they say she still tried to use what was left to cut off her airway.

It happened on Wednesday. Alice police arrested 27 year-old Erica Lara for a warrant out of Duval County; for a motion to revoke probation. Sheriff's officials say Lara didn't show any signs of distress when she was booked, calling it a "normal" process. Lara was put into a holding area. It was during a routine watch of the inmates that officers noticed something was wrong. An officer asked Lara if she was okay, and when she didn't respond, the officer called for assistance. Officials say they had the door open within seconds. Lara was using her bra to attempt to cut off her air supply.

Lieutenant Barbara Garcia told 3 News, "she had it around her throat, and there was a small like a little wall, for her privacy, at the restroom and she hooked her bra over the wall, and just took all of her body weight off, she almost laid down on the floor, in order to, cut off her airway."

Garcia says EMS responded quickly, brining Lara to the hospital. Lara was later taken to a Duval County Jail.

Officials say they take away everything within reason from the inmates, without trying to humiliate them, adding that taking a bra away from a female inmate might just add fuel to the fire. But, officials say if this continues to be a problem, they will consider taking bras away.

 
Inmate Strangled At Wasco State Prison

Man Found Dead In Cell

March 23, 2011
Turnto23.com

WASCO, Calif. -- Wasco State Prison said that at 12:45 a.m. Wednesday, 35-year-old Victor Rolando Mendoza, from Los Angeles County, was found dead in his cell at Wasco State Prison-Reception Center at 12:45 a.m. Wednesday.

The death is being investigated as a homicide by the Kern County District Attorney's Office.

Mendoza arrived at the prison on March 1 and was serving 16 months for possession of a controlled substance.

Mendoza also received a nine-month sentence from Los Angeles County in October 2008 for petty theft with priors.

Mendoza also received a two-year sentence from Los Angeles County in April 2004 for second-degree burglary.

The suspect in the case is a 31-year-old inmate who arrived on Jan. 11 and is serving a life sentence for kidnapping and rape.

An autopsy was performed on Mendoza and the cause of death was determined to be asphyxia by ligature strangulation. The manner of death was homicide.

WSP's primary mission is to provide short-term housing necessary to process, classify and evaluate new inmates.

Inmate in Missouri prison dies

March 25, 2011
Patrick O'Connell
stltoday.com


BONNE TERRE, Mo. • An inmate at the state prison in Bonne Terre died Wednesday, but officials are saying little about the circumstances surrounding his death.

Michael L. King, 25, an inmate at the Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Corrections Center serving time for robbery, was pronounced dead at Parkland Health Center in Farmington, Mo., after being taken there from the prison, St. Francois County coroner James Coplin said.

Coplin said he did not know what happened inside the prison leading up to King's death. Missouri Department Corrections officials did not comment on the details surrounding his death, saying only they were awaiting autopsy results.

An autopsy of King's body was performed Thursday at St. Louis University Medical Center. The results were inconclusive, Coplin said, and he could not yet determine a cause or manner of death. The results of toxicology tests won't be available for at least eight weeks.

The coroner said King's body did not have any outward signs of trauma, adding that King had several pre-existing medical conditions. Coplin could not provide details.

King, of the Missouri Bootheel town of Hayti, pleaded guilty of robbery in October 2003 in Pemiscot County Circuit Court. A judge suspended the seven-year sentence and King was placed on probation, according to online court records.

A judge also ordered him to submit to drug testing and follow any drug treatment recommended by his probation officer. But King twice violated the terms of his probation, according to court records, and in July 2005 was sent to prison.

Deaths cited in criticisms of double-cell Prison policy

S.J.'s Deuel houses twice number of prisoners it was designed to hold

 

Death penalty to be sought against two Colorado inmates accused of killings in Supermax

March 30, 2011
By Sara Burnett
The Denver Post

Federal prosecutors will seek the death penalty against two inmates accused of killing fellow prisoners in separate incidents at the federal prison complex in Florence, according to notices filed in U.S. District Court.

The cases — which include the first murder at the prison known as "Supermax" — mark the first time since 2001 that the U.S. attorney's office in Denver has filed notice to pursue the death penalty.

Richard Santiago, 51, is accused of beating a man to death in the yard of the Administrative Maximum U.S. Penitentiary, or Supermax, in 2005.

According to court records, Santiago and another inmate, Silvestre Mayorqui Rivera, kicked, punched and stomped on fellow inmate Manuel Torrez until he lay unresponsive.

Video surveillance cameras show the attack lasted several minutes before Santiago and Rivera walked away from Torrez, who appeared unconscious. A short time later, Santiago returned and kicked Torrez several times in the head and torso, according to an affidavit filed by the FBI agent who investigated the case.

Guards did not arrive in the yard until several minutes later, the document states.

Both Santiago and Rivera were charged with murder in 2010. Prosecutors are not seeking the death penalty against Rivera.

According to court records, Santiago has claimed membership in the Mexican Mafia gang. His criminal history includes a previous murder and assault while in custody in Fresno, Calif.

His attorney did not return a phone message requesting comment.

Gary Douglas Watland, 48, is accused of stabbing fellow inmate Mark James Baker in the neck and head with a homemade metal "shank" while Baker played cards in a common area of the U.S. Penitentiary in 2008.

Afterward, Watland told investigators "it was a disrespect issue," and that he was glad Baker was dead, according to an affidavit filed in federal court.

Watland was serving a term of life in prison for a state murder charge at the time of the killing, court records show. He was charged with murder in January.

Watland's attorney declined to comment.

Federal prosecutors in Denver last sought the death penalty against cousins William and Rudy Sablan, who were accused of stabbing their cellmate, then removing his organs and displaying them for other inmates as a warning.

After separate trials, juries in each case sentenced them to life in prison rather than death.

 

Prisoner killed in fight at S.W. Pa. prison

April 4, 2011
whptv.com

UNIONTOWN, Pa. (AP) — An inmate is dead following a fight at a county prison in southwestern Pennsylvania.

The Uniontown Herald-Standard reports a male prisoner was pronounced dead at a hospital Sunday night following a fight at the Fayette County Prison.

State police say the investigation has been handed over to the Fayette County district attorney's office. A message left at the prosecutor's office by The Associated Press early Monday was not immediately returned.

Ohio executes man for killing fellow Jail inmate

April 12, 2011
JoANNE VIVIANO
Associated Press

LUCASVILLE, Ohio – A man was executed Tuesday for beating and stomping to death a fellow jail inmate days after the two had argued over what to watch on television.

Clarence Carter, 49, died at 10:25 a.m. at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility. He was the second inmate in the nation killed using the surgical sedative pentobarbital as a stand-alone execution drug.

Carter, who was waiting to be sentenced for another aggravated murder when he attacked Johnny Allen Jr. in 1988, looked to see if any Allen family members were present. Seeing none, he still delivered an apology.

"I'd like to say I'm sorry for what I did, especially to his mother. I ask God for forgiveness and them for forgiveness," he said.

He smiled and nodded at his brother and appeared to pray as the lethal injection began. After several deep breaths, his eyes closed. He fell still about a minute into the procedure.

Allen's mother, Helen L. Bonner, did not attend, but released a statement saying she has no animosity against Carter and has forgiven him.

"But my forgiveness of him will never ease the pain of the loss of my son," she wrote.

Allen died two weeks after the December 1988 beating in the Hamilton County jail in Cincinnati. Investigators said Carter punched, choked, kicked and stomped on Allen for a half-hour period, periodically stopping to mop blood from his sneakers. Witnesses said Carter had punched Allen in the eye earlier in the month when one of the men changed a TV channel.

Allen was being held on a theft charge. Carter was in the jail waiting to be sentenced on a prior conviction of aggravated murder in the death of Michael Hadnot. He told the Ohio Parole Board in February that Hadnot was a fellow drug trafficker he killed over the theft of drugs, money and incriminating documents from an operation in which both were involved.

Carter had been calm and in good spirits Monday, meeting with two imams, laughing during visits with his brother and lawyers and at one point saying, "doing good, happy and I'm a smiling," said prisons department spokesman Carlo LoParo.

Just ahead of the lethal injection, Carter knelt and put his head to the ground in prayer.

Witnessing the execution were Carter's brother, Lamarck Carter, and an attorney. They clasped hands after the execution, and Carter smiled.

Only two media representatives witnessed the execution: a reporter from The Associated Press and one from The Columbus Dispatch representing the Ohio Legislative Correspondents Association. Larry Greene, a spokesman at the prison, said it was the fewest number of media to witness an execution since the state resumed executions in 1999.

Prisons director Gary Mohr said that, despite the low media attendance, each execution is a "significant event."

LoParo said about five protesters gathered outside the prison.

Carter's lawyers argued against the execution, claiming Allen's killing was not premeditated, that Allen was a former U.S. Army soldier who likely instigated the fight and that the inmates used as witnesses were unreliable. They said Carter is borderline mentally disabled and that his upbringing was marked by violent role models, including a stepfather who beat him when he stuttered and a cousin who paid him 50 cents to fight other children.

Gov. John Kasich denied clemency last week, based on a unanimous recommendation of the parole board.

Carter had been scheduled for execution in 2007, but was spared by a lawsuit pending at the time that challenged lethal injection.

That year, the parole board had voted 6-3 against clemency, with those dissenting saying they were troubled by what appeared to be contradictory or inaccurate testimony by inmate witnesses.

Carter was the third Ohio inmate executed this year, and the 44th since the resumption of executions in 1999.

Investigators look into assault at Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison, inmate death at Newton

April 19, 2011
desmoinesregister.com

Iowa prison officials are investigating an Iowa State Penitentiary inmate’s attack on another prisoner Monday, and the discovery of a dead inmate at the Newton prison the same day.

The penitentiary was locked down Monday after an inmate attacked another prisoner about 7 a.m., said prison spokesman Fred Scaletta.

Prison staffers found an unresponsive inmate on the floor with a bleeding head injury.

After treatment at the prison, the inmate, whose name was not released, was taken to Fort Madison Community Hospital for further treatment, then transferred to University of Iowa Hospitals in Iowa City.

The inmate had lacerations and contusions on his neck and back, which required surgery to fix a vertebrae.

Prison officials have a suspect, who is being housed away from other inmates. Scaletta declined to name the men involved. Investigators have not found the weapons.

No prison workers were injured.

The penitentiary remained on lock down this afternoon. The victim is still in the hospital.

In the other case, prison staffers found an unresponsive inmate, Allan Dale Fattig, on his bed in his cell at the Newton Correctional Facility shortly after 11:30 a.m. Monday.

Fattig, 49, didn’t respond to CPR and other treatments. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Prison officials suspect Fattig died of natural causes, but are scheduling an autopsy and toxicology testing. It could be up to six weeks before a cause of death is determined.Fattig had been treated for several medical conditions. Last July, he began serving a 20-year sentence in a Polk County methamphetamine case.

Inmate Ginger Lashley dies in Prison

 and ANITA Lee
SunHerald.com

JACKSON COUNTY -- Inmate Ginger Lashley, 50, was found dead at 4:35 a.m. today in the bed of her state jail cell, Rankin County Coroner Jimmy Roberts confirmed. Lashley was sentenced last week to 10 years in prison for embezzling almost $900,000 of taxpayers’ money from 2001-2009 from Jackson County’s Finance Department. She was booked Thursday into the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility in Pearl.

Roberts said Lashley suffered from diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. but the cause of her death is unknown pending the results of an autopsy.

Lashley, who lived in St. Martin, was fired from her position as a clerk with the Jackson County Finance Department within days of her arrest in November 2009. She was represented in her guilty plea Wednesday in Jackson County Circuit Court by a court-appointed attorney because she was indigent.

 

Macomb County Jail officials investigate inmate's suicide

April 26, 2011
detnews.com


Mount Clemens

Sheriff's Deputies are investigating the weekend suicide of a Macomb County Jail inmate. Sheriff Anthony Wickersham said a Corrections Officer conducting rounds found the 51-year-old man hanging in his cell in the maximum-security section about 8:30 p.m. Sunday. Wickersham said the man had been incarcerated for a couple of weeks on charges of assault with a dangerous weapon.

 
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