Another California death row inmate at San Quentin State Prison has died from apparent complications of the coronavirus in the midst of an outbreak that has infected about 40% of inmates at the prison, corrections officials said Wednesday.
David Reed, 60, died Tuesday at an outside hospital, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said in a statement.
He is the sixth death row inmate to die of COVID-related complications at the prison north of San Francisco. Reed was sent to death row 2011 in the racially motivated murder of Ricky Mosley in Palm Springs. Reed, who was white, fatally stabbed Mosley, who was Black, near a restaurant in March 2004.
In a recorded interview, Reed discussed the killing with detectives and used a racial epithet to describe Mosley, who was a transient. Prosecutors said Reed staked out the area two weeks for Mosley to come around the restaurant and then attacked him because he believed Mosley had sexually assaulted his estranged wife.
Mosley was found stabbed through the heart. Nearly 1,400 of the 3,500 inmates at San Quentin have tested positive for the virus since officials transferred 121 inmates from the heavily impacted California Institution for Men in Chino on May 30 without properly testing them for infections.
Until then, San Quentin had been virus-free. There have now been 30 deaths from COVID-19 in California’s prison system, according to state figures. More than 5,000 inmates are listed as actively having the infection, along with more than 600 employees.
California lawmakers last week harshly criticized corrections officials, saying they botched their handling of the virus pandemic.
The corrections department says it has taken steps to ensure social distancing and testing for San Quentin prisoners, added additional health care staff, sent tens of thousands of masks and other safety equipment there, and established an “ambulance strike team” to quickly move patients to outside hospitals if needed.
The coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms such as fever and cough for most people. But for some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.