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The Santa Rita Jail – An Inmate Allegedly Kills Cellmate


Posted on: 10/27/2016

Although the crime rate in the United States has been decreasing due to the proficient tactics and strategies by law enforcing authorities, it is still at an alarming rate and uncontrollable in many cities. Similarly, in Dublin, a suburban city of the Alameda County California, United States, the crime rate is relatively high. To accommodate the criminals in this city, a famous jail was built back in 1947 – called the Santa Rita Jail. The Santa Rita Jail houses the majority of the people arrested in the Alameda County and is 113-acre facility to allow the state to accommodate their criminals easily. It is the sixth largest jail in the country and is currently home to approximately 2,129 inmates. Recent news featuring the Santa Rita Jail indicates that an inmate allegedly killed his cellmate.

According to Sergeant Ray Kelly, a spokesman for the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, the incident took place on a Tuesday morning; around 8:50 AM. The reports say that the inmate, aged 73 years, purposely killed his 53-year-old cellmate – with no weapon and in the maximum security sector of the building. Sergeant Kelly refused to reveal the identities of both the inmate and the cellmate who were killed – and the reason due to which they were serving time in the Santa Rita Jail. Although he claimed there was no weapon involved in the incident, the spokesman could not elaborate how the homicide took place – and that took place in the behavioral mental health until; the most secure wing of the facility.

Although it was unclear how the deputies in charge of the unit were alerted about the incident, the homicide surely took place inside a locked cell – and is assumed to begin with an initial struggle from the 53-year-old cellmate. According to other inmates, a noise was heard around 8:50 AM, and as soon as the deputies entered the locked cell, the cellmate who was killed was lying on the floor. The deputies who found out about the incident, ‘discovered a grisly scene’ – as quoted by Sergeant Kelly. They also report that the victim was found dead at the crime scene. As the deputies claimed that the victim’s cellmate, who was drenched in blood, tried to escape the crime scene, but they could tackle him down and detain him in the cell after a brief struggle. In later reports, it was mentioned that the suspect of the crime scene was arrested earlier, in Hayward on Thursday, on battery threat charges. The suspect is being held in an isolated room, which is away from the other inmate’s cells and all the population of the jail. During this, the prosecutors at the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office are trying to find out if the suspect is mentally competent for an interview by the authorities or not.

Later, the reasons behind the time which the victim was serving, before being mercilessly murdered, also came to the surface. According to latest updates, the victim was from Union City and was arrested in January, due to a charge of assault with a deadly weapon. Sergeant Kelly also said the man was scheduled to be relocated to the Napa State Hospital, to understand the mental health condition of the man. The name of the victim has not yet been released and the notification has not yet been dispatched to his family. As Sergeant Kelly has claimed, both the suspect and the inmates are Asian males and are suspected to be suffering from mental derangement. He further added that the homicide was not the result of a gang rivalry or racial aggression. As no weapon was used in the killing, the authorities believe that like many other cases in the states, this victim has to either have been strangled or beaten to death.

Although the prison’s management has contained the crime scene, the authorities believe that keeping the other 291 inmates in the behavioral health unit under lockdown would be a precautionary measure – restraining further events such as this one. Both the victim and the suspect are well-known all over the jail and the mental health unit system, but there were no indications they would be put together to carry out the mental checkup. These men were in the same cell for only a couple of days before the homicide took place. According to Kelly, when the inmates are put into jail, a long procedure needs to be carried out to ensure which inmate should be celled with which, and what could be the possible outcomes. The sergeant added that most of the ‘inmate kills inmate’ cases from the past have involved suspects who are not mentally competent. Although the unit has been wired with CCTV cameras, the cells are not – due to privacy issues.

Sergeant Kelly claims the management of the Santa Rita Jail is exceptionally good, and this incident was a mere unfortunate event. He claims that since the jail has been built, there have only been 5 inmate homicides – including this one. Moreover, this was the only death which occurred after the inmate homicide of 2008; while the other 3 occurred in 1997, 2002 and 2003 respectively. According to him, this incident did not occur due to the negligence of the management.

Such incidents have been taking place all over the United States ever since the economic crunch of 2008. The crime rate has shot up, and it needs to be dealt with adequately and in proper time. Moreover, the management must make sure that placing inmates is done wisely, to prevent such events from taking place. This incident has revived the memory of the inmate homicide in 2008, and has put a huge responsibility in front of the management of Santa Rita Jail – to make sure that they put all their inmates, especially the ones with mental disorders; under surveillance.

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