A San Joaquin County judge is refusing to free a prisoner who is in a permanent vegetative state.
Jackson Phaysaleum of Stockton was beaten by a cellmate last year and is not expected to regain consciousness. Attorneys sought his release under a law that allows an incapacitated inmate to go free if he poses no public risk.
Judge Terrence Van Oss refused to release Phaysaleum on Monday, meaning the state must continue paying for two guards to watch him.
Oss says he was inclined to release the inmate but changed his mind because he feared San Joaquin County would end up paying the medical bills.
Phaysaleum is serving a 46 years-to-life sentence for killing two men in 2004.