CA: Wasco State Prison: Sex offender killed in cell

Source: 3/16/22

Wasco State Prison officials reported a convicted sex offender was killed in his cell on Tuesday, according to a news release from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Scott ____, 59, is believed to be the victim of a homicide, according to the release, after he was found unresponsive in his cell shortly after 5 p.m.

Prison officials identified his cellmate Eugene Stroud, 44, as the suspect.

Gunter, who came to Wasco from San Diego County, began serving a two-year sentence Feb. 23 for failing to register as a sex offender, according to a CDCR news release.

Stroud, who came to Wasco from Yolo County, began serving a 25-year, eight-month sentence on Feb. 8 for two counts of corporal injury on specific persons resulting in a traumatic condition as a second-striker and one count of making criminal threats to cause great bodily injury or death as a second-striker, according to the release. He also received enhancements for inflicting great bodily injury involving domestic violence, personal use of a dangerous or deadly weapon, and two prior felony convictions of a serious offense.

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Fact: Scott was just doing time for a FAIL TO REGISTER.

Fact: the prison guards put him in the same cell as Stroud, who was just starting a 25 year second-strike sentence for EXTREME violence and had little to lose.

I can just see the prison guards smiling and patting each other on the back.

Is that equivalent of hiring a hit man? Does that make them guilty of first degree murder of a registrant?

Failing to register should not be a prison sentence. There are countless people that fail to appear on a number of non-violent charges and when they are apprehended they mostly get sent to jail, appear before a judge, pay a fine or arrange to pay a fine and are released. They do not go straight to prison for a non-violent offense like failing to register…but if you are a fail to register registrant then it mostly is a free ride right back to prison.

Sadly, an event such as this is not uncommon in most state prisons. During my 25 yr. career as a criminal defense investigator, I worked on the case of an inmate at a California penitentiary who had murdered his cellie, a sex offender. It was known to the prosecutor as to the motive for the murder (the defendant hated sex offenders). The prosecutor then offers a plea deal for voluntary manslaughter, instead of a murder. The defendant/client was doing life on attempted murder of a gay man in Los Angeles, a result of a hustle/robbery gone bad. So, they return the defendant/murderer to a higher security prison, where he is given a new cellie. That cellie’s offense?? Why, a sex offense of course. And what happens? You got it….defendant proceeds to murder his new cellie because he was a sex offender.

Do you think the “prison administration” did not know what they were doing? That this was some bureaucratic oversight? That they had neglected to read the inmate/murderer’s file? In consultation with other California attorneys, they recount similar stories. And very sadly, the families of the murdered inmates stand very little chance of success in civil actions against the State, the CDCR, the wardens, the correctional officers, etc. And should a jury ever agree that those involved were civilly liable, the monies awarded for “actual damages” would be based upon the total amount of future earnings the deceased would have earned during the remainder of his working years. Juries (not me) tend to think sex offenders would not earn much (it would be argued by those being sued) that sex offenders are for the most part “un-employable”, or at best work menial jobs, not paying much. The “punitive damages” imposed upon the State, CDCR, etc., if any, would likewise not amount to very much, after all, it’s a sex offender. Thus, there are very, very few civil attorneys willing to take on such cases, as there is unlikely a payday worth the risk (attorneys front the money, financing the lawsuit, taking their cut on the back end, provided that they are successful).

These types of crimes should be (must be) categorized, ultimately, as “hate crimes”, with significant penalties attached. Further, there must be some accountability for the State, etc. Finally, I believe that sex offenders should be protected from violent offenders to the extent possible. A sex offender should never be housed in a two-man cell with another inmate with a history of violence.

Perhaps we can petition our elected officials, such as Sen. Weiner and others.

Interesting that Gunter’s original charge isn’t given in any of the articles I could find about his murder.

Any prison sentence for FTR is ludicrous, especially a lengthy one (sometimes longer than for the original offense!).

Many FTRs, I suspect, involve homelessness and psychological issues, not willful disregard for the law. So sad.

Of course, the comment threads for the story on social media are disgusting.

Wow, the punishment for not renewing your Price Club membership is getting harsh