3 California prison guards beat mentally ill inmate to death inside his cell causing his liver and spleen to split in halfBy Tanya Clark 12:01 PM January 7, 2018
Three prison guards severely beat a mentally ill inmate who was scheduled to be transferred to a hospital, according to police in California.
A jury convicted the three Santa Clara County correctional officers in connection with the murder of mentally ill inmate Michael Tyree, 31.
The guards – Matthew Farris, 28, Jereh Lubrin, 30, and Rafael Rodriguez, 28 – were accused of beating Tyree, causing massive and eventually fatal internal injuries.
Numerous inmates heard Tyree screaming: “I’m sorry. I’m sorry. Stop.”
The jury did not reach a verdict on charges of assaulting another inmate minutes before their fatal assault on Tyree.
The verdicts followed a 4-month trial.
The guards were each sentenced to 15 years to life in prison.
“Michael Tyree’s tragedy was worthy of our outrage, and his death will never be invisible,” District Attorney Jeff Rosen said.
“We will think of him as we work toward making the justice system a better, more fair, and safe place for the vulnerable men and women suffering from mental illness. I am committed to doing that. We will never forget Michael Tyree in our fight against those who see vulnerabilities as a chance to harm, instead of an opportunity to help,” Rosen added.
According to the police investigation, at around 10:00 p.m., the three guards entered Tyree’s cell and beat him to death while he was waiting to be transferred to a hospital.
The guards became violent after Tyree refused to take his medication.
Officer Lubrin and Officer Rodriguez later entered Tyree’s cell again just after midnight to find him dead on the floor, covered in his own waste and vomit.
Tyree was pronounced dead at 12:35 a.m.
The Medical Examiner estimated that the internal injuries to his liver and spleen were so severe that he died within minutes of the trauma.
Tyree was in custody related to violating probation for misdemeanor crimes.
“Michael was a human being. Those jurors recognized that. He was loved. He mattered then and he will continue to matter with this verdict,” Shannon Tyree, the victim’s sister, said.
The defense attorneys for the defendants argued that Tyree’s injuries could have been caused by falling from the prison cell’s toilet sink.