Death Row Inmate Who Died At San Quentin​ Had COVID-19

Kristina Houck

SAN QUENTIN, CA — A death row inmate who died last week at San Quentin State Prison tested positive for the coronavirus, authorities announced Monday.

Richard Stitely, 71, died Wednesday after being on death row since 1992 following his conviction for the 1990 rape and murder of Carol Unger, 47, in Southern California.

Stitely was found unresponsive Wednesday night in his cell with no signs of trauma. He was pronounced dead less than 30 minutes later, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

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Although he tested positive for COVID-19, Stitely's cause of death will be determined following a forensic post-mortem exam and toxicology testing scheduled for Tuesday, according to the Coroner Division of the Marin County Sheriff's Office.

As of Monday, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has reported 1,021 COVID-19 cases at San Quentin, including 978 new cases in the last 14 days. Criminal justice advocates have pointed to a recent transfer of inmates from the California Institution for Men in Southern California as an inflection point for the virus' spread at San Quentin.

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Patch editor Kristina Houck and Bay City News Service contributed to this report.

This article originally appeared on the Mill Valley Patch