A California prosecutor is looking into the case of an inmate who bled to death during the Super Bowl last Sunday. Investigators are checking into the possibility that guards at Corcoran State Prison ignored his plight while watching the game, says the Los Angeles Times. Ronald Herrera, 60, a dialysis patient suffering from hepatitis, was screaming during the game. The Times says that when a guard tried to check on Herrera, a sergeant told him not to bother. “He’s not dead,” the sergeant was quoted by officials as saying. “Just keep an eye on him.” He was found dead by new shift of guards the next morning.
The investigation comes amid state Senate hearings and other criticism of the prison system. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has vowed to “clean the place up.”
Steve Fama of the watchdog Prison Law Office doubted whether the Kings County district attorney’s office would hold staff accountable because the prosecutor was elected with support from the powerful Correctional Peace Officers Association. Patrick Hart, chief deputy prosecutor, said his office’s”fairly good working relationship” with the union would not interfere. “We’re not satisfied with the written reports we’ve gotten so far from staff,” he said. “One of the things we’re looking at is whether staff knew he was in trouble and failed to take the proper steps.”