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8th Inmate Dies Of Suspected Virus On California Death Row

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8th Inmate Dies Of Suspected Virus On California Death Row

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Eight inmates on California’s death row at San Quentin State Prison have now died of apparent complications from the coronavirus, officials said Wednesday, amid the largest prison outbreak of the virus in the state.

Officials said condemned inmate John M. Beames, 67, died Tuesday at an outside hospital. His exact cause of death will be determined by a coroner.

He was sentenced to death in Tulare County in 1995 for murder, torture and other crimes involving a 15-month-old child.

According to a 2007 state Supreme Court decision upholding his conviction and sentence, Beames lived with a woman and her two children, including victim Cassie McMains.

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She bled to death in 1994 after investigators said her liver was hit so hard that it was split nearly in half. Medical experts at his trial said she had suffered numerous injuries for weeks before her death, including burns, broken bones, black eyes and ligature marks.

Defense attorneys said the child had a brittle bone disease, that her burns and her fatal liver injury were accidental, and that Beames fed and clothed her.

There have now been 14 total virus-related deaths at the prison north of San Francisco, where there are 717 condemned inmates on death row.San Quentin currently has 860 active virus cases — more than triple the number at any other prison. Nearly 1,200 inmates have recovered.California Institution for Men in Southern California has the most inmate deaths, with 19. There have been eight other inmate deaths scattered among four additional prisons.System-wide there are more than 1,900 active virus cases, and nearly 5,000 inmates have recovered. At least 870 employees are currently infected, […]

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