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Prison Murders

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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 11, 2006 | Christopher Goffard, Times Staff Writer
Prosecutors seeking justice for Terry Lamar Walker in death found little good to say about him in life. A convicted burglar, stickup man and bank robber, Walker spent much of his adult life behind bars. His killing in May 1999, at the high-security federal prison in Marion, Ill., was anything but discreet. A guard reported seeing one inmate grab the unarmed Walker from behind while another lunged at him, over and over, with a 4-inch shiv.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 21, 2013 | By Ruben Vives and Marisa Gerber
DeAndre Howard spent more than a decade in prison for a murder he knew he didn't commit. After years of fighting for his innocence from behind bars, a federal judge had finally granted him an appeal. Prosecutors, he said, gave him a choice. He could plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter and get out in time for a Thanksgiving dinner with his family. Or he could go back to trial and risk spending the rest of his life in prison. He chose trial. That felt final. It felt right.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 17, 2005 | Jenifer Warren, Times Staff Writer
The fatal stabbing of an officer by an inmate at the Chino men's prison might have been prevented if guards had not routinely violated security protocols and if managers had properly housed the alleged assailant in a cell for violent convicts, an investigative report concluded Wednesday. In response to the findings, state corrections officials placed Warden Lori DiCarlo and two chief deputies on paid administrative leave and launched a widespread audit of prison operations.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 13, 2013 | By Tony Perry
A former IRS agent who opened a tax preparation business was sentenced Friday to nearly 24 years in prison for defrauding clients out of more than $11 million and then attempting to hire a hit man to kill four of them. Steven Martinez, 51, of Ramona was sentenced in San Diego federal court to 286 months in prison and five years of supervised release.  He was also ordered by District Court Judge William Hayes to forfeit all the property, including a home in Mexico, and other possessions that he purchased with clients' money.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 14, 2004 | Anna Gorman, Times Staff Writer
Shane Wilson is tough and tattooed, a former Nazi Low Rider gang member with a long criminal record. "I'm a big guy, I'm a bad guy," Wilson said in a jailhouse interview Thursday. But when he agreed to testify against a suspected murderer in exchange for a lighter sentence, Wilson said, "I was scared for my life." Witnesses are targets, he said, especially in jail: "In my world, if you testify, you put your life in jeopardy -- bottom line."
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 28, 2007 | Stuart Pfeifer, Times Staff Writer
Kurt Karcher strangled his cellmate in state prison last year, officials say. Then he was moved to a downtown Los Angeles jail, where he allegedly killed another one. The combination of events has raised questions about how well state and county officials communicate as they regularly trade custody of dangerous inmates, this one already convicted of choking to death an Orange County man in 1993.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 30, 2007 | Stuart Pfeifer, Times Staff Writer
A mentally disturbed state prison inmate being transferred into a Los Angeles County jail last month was examined by mental health workers, who declared him fit to be placed in the general jail population. That finding caused Kurt Karcher, a convicted killer with a bipolar disorder, to be moved into a cell with inmate Jose Daniel Cruz.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 10, 2010 | By Richard Winton
A Compton gang member already sentenced to life in prison for murder and awaiting trial in a second slaying is being investigated in the strangling of his Twin Towers jail cellmate. Jamar Lavon Tucker, 28, was found inside his two-man cell next to the body of William Levell Hansbrough during a security check Thursday at the downtown L.A. jail, officials said. Tucker told deputies he had just killed his cellmate, said Steve Whitmore, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
NEWS
January 22, 2001 | RICHARD A. SERRANO, TIMES STAFF WRITER
David Paul Hammer appears fated to die the way he killed his cellmate, Andrew Hunt Marti--inside a small prison room, his arms and legs strapped down, lying face up to a world that will do just as well without him. Hammer murdered Marti nearly five years ago, slowly strangling him in his lower bunk in cell 103 of the Allenwood penitentiary. With the federal government soon to begin executing prisoners again, Hammer at this moment is the first in line.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 11, 2005 | Susannah Rosenblatt and Susana Enriquez, Times Staff Writers
State prison officials on Friday removed the warden and two deputy wardens from their posts at the California Institution for Men in Chino after an investigation determined that mismanagement and security lapses contributed to the slaying of a guard in January.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 10, 2010 | By Richard Winton
A Compton gang member already sentenced to life in prison for murder and awaiting trial in a second slaying is being investigated in the strangling of his Twin Towers jail cellmate. Jamar Lavon Tucker, 28, was found inside his two-man cell next to the body of William Levell Hansbrough during a security check Thursday at the downtown L.A. jail, officials said. Tucker told deputies he had just killed his cellmate, said Steve Whitmore, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 8, 2010
Los Angeles County homicide detectives are continuing to investigate the death of an inmate last week. William Hansbrough, 36, was declared dead just after 10 a.m. Thursday at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility, Los Angeles County sheriff's officials said Sunday. Hansbrough had been strangled, according to the county coroner's office. Guards conducting a security check were "told by an inmate that he had killed his cellmate," according to the Sheriff's Department. The men were housed in a jail module designated for mentally ill inmates, sheriff's officials said.
NATIONAL
January 5, 2010 | By David G. Savage
A Supreme Court case testing whether a prosecutor can be sued for framing suspects for a murder ended Monday when an Iowa county agreed to pay $12 million to two men who were freed after spending 26 years in prison. In the past, the high court had said prosecutors could not be sued for doing their jobs, even if they sometimes convicted the wrong defendant. And in November, an Obama administration lawyer argued on behalf of Pottawattamie County, asserting that there is no constitutional "right not to be framed."
NATIONAL
July 9, 2008 | From Times Wire Reports
A federal judge in Baton Rouge overturned the conviction of a former Black Panther in the 1972 stabbing death of a state prison guard. Albert Woodfox, who was held in solitary confinement for more than 30 years, is one of three former Panthers known as the "Angola Three." He and two others at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola were convicted in the killing of guard Brent Miller in 1972. U.S. District Judge James Brady approved a federal magistrate's June recommendation that Woodfox's conviction be overturned because his former lawyers had failed to challenge some testimony against him. Prosecutors could retry him.
NATIONAL
May 17, 2008 | William C. Rempel, Times Staff Writer
Among the inmates at the Clark County Detention Center in the summer of 2006 was a local celebrity, an ex-cop whose long fight to reverse his murder conviction still intrigued his hometown. Ronald L. Mortensen had been a rookie Las Vegas police officer the night he and his partner went on a drunken off-duty spree. It ended with a fatal shooting. Was it Mortensen or his partner who pulled the trigger? The question dominated a sensational trial in 1997.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 13, 2008 | Christine Hanley, Stuart Pfeifer and Christian Berthelsen, Times Staff Writers
A special grand jury that reviewed the fatal beating of a Theo Lacy Jail inmate scolded the Orange County Sheriff's Department for investigating the death itself rather than turning the case over to the district attorney, violating a 20-year-old policy "through conscious choice or negligent action." In a letter made public Wednesday, the panel pointed out that the policy adopted in 1985 had been honored in 129 out of 130 custodial death investigations.
WORLD
August 16, 2005 | From Times Wire Reports
Gang members rioted in at least seven Guatemalan prisons, attacking rivals with grenades, guns and knives in coordinated chaos that left 31 inmates dead, officials said. The riots apparently began with attacks by members of the Mara Salvatrucha gang against rivals in the M-18 gang, Interior Minister Carlos Vielmann said. Vielmann said the violence was under control shortly after noon.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 8, 2008 | H.G. Reza, Christine Hanley and Mike Anton, Times Staff Writers
A nine-month grand jury investigation into the beating death of an Orange County jail inmate found that no crimes were committed by sheriff's deputies accused of instigating the assault and ignoring the victim's cries for help, Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas said Friday. But Rackauckas said the 2006 slaying of John Chamberlain could have been avoided and admonished the Sheriff's Department for not following its own procedures to ensure inmate safety, although he wouldn't elaborate.
WORLD
January 24, 2008 | Patrick J. McDonnell, Times Staff Writer
Hector Febres was the man who knew too much. And, like a character in a spy novel damned with an excess of secrets, Febres met an untimely and grisly end: He was poisoned last month in his cell. That is the conclusion of Argentine officials investigating the death of the former coast guard officer, who was awaiting a verdict on charges of torture. The case arose from Febres' service under a military dictatorship decades earlier at the country's most notorious clandestine detention center.
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