August 19, 1998 |
The former head of the state Department of Corrections testified Tuesday that he did not learn about a pattern of violence at Corcoran State Prison until years after the San Joaquin Valley penitentiary had become the most violent in the nation. At the fifth and final scheduled day of hearings before a joint legislative committee on violence at Corcoran, former corrections Director James H. Gomez attributed its problems to the state's massive prison buildup beginning in the mid-1980s.
April 15, 2000 |
Eight prison guards purposely invited violent brawls by putting rival gang members together in a cramped recreation yard and waiting for them to fight, a prosecutor told a federal jury Friday. "This unit had over five times more fights than every other unit and every other shift," Assistant U.S. Atty. John Conklin said in his opening statement.
August 4, 1998 |
Three members of a state corrections investigation team testified Monday that key decisions passed down from Sacramento officials stymied their attempts to investigate allegations of brutality and cover-ups by guards at Corcoran State Prison. Under oath at an ongoing legislative hearing, repeating accounts previously reported in The Times, the state agents said that important investigative tools were taken away from them by then-Director of Corrections James Gomez and others in Sacramento.
October 22, 1998 |
State prison chief Cal Terhune predicted Wednesday that hearings into brutality and shootings at Corcoran State Prison will have a lasting influence on the way the state Department of Corrections does business. "I truly do not believe that the correctional system in California will ever be the same after these hearings because I think there was light shined on problems," Terhune testified at a concluding session of legislative hearings on prison conditions.
October 29, 1999 |
One of four guards accused of setting up a prisoner's rape testified Thursday that the inmate never asked for help or said his life would be in danger because of his new cellmate. Sgt. Joe Sanchez said inmate Eddie Dillard simply asked to be moved from his cell and never mentioned that his cellmate, Wayne Robertson, had raped him. Robertson is known at Corcoran as the "Booty Bandit" because of his well-known propensity to rape other prisoners.
March 23, 2000 |
A prisoner's civil rights lawsuit against five Corcoran State Prison guards has been thrown out of court by a federal judge. Inmate Ronnie Dewberry represented himself in the case against five officers until it was dismissed late Tuesday. Dewberry, a convicted killer from Oakland, said he was put into the now-infamous security housing unit's exercise yard at the prison with his enemies and was wounded by a gas gun fired to break up a fight in which he was involved.
July 6, 1998 |
Even as Corcoran State Prison was coming apart at the seams, the state watchdog team that finally visited the prison in 1993 didn't raise any questions about staged fights or allegations of brutality. Instead, the Inspector General's Office asked about inmate showers, linens and underwear. Were the cells clean and well lighted? Did the toilets flush properly? The squad of inspectors left, giving the prison a clean bill of health.
May 25, 2000 |
The Corcoran State Prison guard who shot and killed an inmate during a 1994 brawl says that there was no guard conspiracy to set up gladiator-style fights between prisoners. Officer Christopher Bethea told the jury Tuesday that he had no idea there was going to be a fight on April 2, 1994. "With all your training, can you predict with any degree of certainty when there's going to be a fight and when there's not?" asked Bethea's lawyer, Michael Rains.
July 5, 1998 |
For seven years, the state of California turned a blind eye to the deadliest prison in America, where 50 inmates were wounded or shot dead by guards. Gov. Pete Wilson and the man who wants to succeed him, Atty. Gen. Dan Lungren, finally launched an examination of Corcoran State Prison that ended last year. The result was a whitewash--a pair of investigations that never probed any of the seven deaths or the other serious shootings, The Times has found.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 22, 2003 |
Three guards and a former medical assistant were not responsible for the rape of an inmate at a state prison once considered the nation's deadliest, a jury determined Tuesday. The jury deliberated for about five hours in the four-week federal civil rights trial in which Eddie Webb Dillard claimed that guards and the medical technician at California State Prison, Corcoran, had set up and then covered up incidents in which he was raped by murderer Wayne Robertson.