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California death row inmate dies; will be tested for virus

A death row inmate died of unknown causes in his cell at San Quentin State Prison, where at least 500 inmates have tested positive for the coronavirus, California officials said.

Posted: Jun 26, 2020 11:05 AM

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A death row inmate died of unknown causes in his cell at San Quentin State Prison, where at least 500 inmates have tested positive for the coronavirus, California officials said.

Corrections officials said Friday that 71-year-old Richard Eugene Stitely was found unresponsive Wednesday evening and that it’s not known if he was infected with the coronavirus.

The cause of death and whether he had COVID-19 will be determined by the Marin County coroner, San Quentin spokesman Lt. Samuel Robinson said in a statement.

Stitely showed no signs of trauma and was given medical assistance but died about 30 minutes after he was found in his single cell, Robinson said.

Stitely was sentenced to death in Los Angeles County on Sept. 14, 1992, for the rape and murder of Carol Unger, 47. Unger was last seen on Jan. 19, 1990, leaving a bar in Reseda with Stitely. The next day her body was found in a parking lot of a North Hollywood industrial complex.

Nearly 540 inmates and at least 73 staff members at the prison in the San Francisco Bay Area have tested positive for the coronavirus as of Thursday, according to corrections officials.

Coronavirus Coverage:

Infections jumped at San Quentin after officials transferred 121 inmates from the California Institution for Men in Chino on May 30, which until Thursday was the state prison with the largest number of infected inmates.

The inmate transfer has been widely condemned by inmate advocates. Officials moved the inmates from the heavily impacted Chino prison for their own safety, but critics say the department failed to adequately test the inmates before moving them to San Quentin, which at the time had no known cases.

San Quentin has surpassed the Chino prison’s current tally of at least 510 positive tests, and now holds more incarcerated people who have tested positive for the virus than anywhere else in the state.

To date, the state prison system has reported 20 COVID-19-related inmate deaths. Sixteen were at the prison in Chino.

System-wide, there are more than 2,000 active inmate cases. About the same number of inmates have recovered.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms. But for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause pneumonia and death

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 292560

Reported Deaths: 6718
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles1232563643
Riverside21957515
Orange20225376
San Diego17842406
San Bernardino16586293
Imperial7464125
Fresno728184
Alameda7245142
San Joaquin581761
Kern575987
Santa Clara5552165
Tulare5298148
Sacramento477678
Contra Costa424186
San Francisco407150
Ventura385850
Santa Barbara380830
San Mateo3743111
Marin323226
Stanislaus300450
Kings282338
Monterey227017
Solano192227
Merced162311
Sonoma148714
Placer97011
Madera8578
San Luis Obispo8453
Yolo76028
Santa Cruz5033
Napa4534
Sutter3234
San Benito3042
Butte2954
El Dorado2800
Lassen2670
Shasta1715
Humboldt1574
Nevada1551
Yuba1543
Glenn1530
Lake1001
Colusa980
Mendocino980
Tehama981
Calaveras610
Del Norte580
Tuolumne580
Mono491
Amador350
Inyo341
Siskiyou330
Mariposa311
Plumas150
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