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UC Berkeley's `Naked Guy' Dies in His Jail Cell

May 21, 2006|From the Associated Press

SAN JOSE — The former UC Berkeley student known as the Naked Guy, who gained notoriety for attending class in the buff in the early 1990s, died in jail, apparently a suicide, authorities said.

Andrew Martinez, 33, whose stripped-down campus strolls got him expelled and prompted the liberal city to adopt an anti-nudity ordinance, was pronounced dead early Thursday in the Santa Clara County Main Jail, jail spokesman Mark Cursi said.

Martinez was found under his bed covers with a plastic bag cinched around his head, Cursi said. Officials are investigating the death.

Martinez, who was 6-foot-4, had been in custody since Jan. 10 on three felony charges of battery and assault with a deadly weapon, authorities said.

He was housed in solitary confinement in a maximum-security area and was last seen alive about 11 p.m. Wednesday during a routine cell check, Cursi said.

He was found about 20 minutes later, when other prisoners reported hearing unusual sounds from his cell, and was pronounced dead soon after.

In 1992, Martinez organized a "nude-in" protest at the university's Sproul Plaza. He said he was trying to make a point about free expression at the birthplace of the 1964 Free Speech Movement.

"What I am getting out here is there's a lot of social control going on here," he told the crowd at the nude-in.

The message caught on, and nude spottings spiked on campus. Martinez, whose naked notoriety landed him on national television talk shows, was expelled the next year after the university rewrote its dress code to ban nudity.

Martinez also became the first person arrested under the Berkeley city ordinance, adopted in July 1993, after he and some of his supporters showed up at a City Hall meeting in the buff. He pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charge and got two years' probation.

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