A 71-year-old man, convicted of murdering a Reseda woman in 1990, died last week at San Quentin State Hospital while positive for the novel coronavirus – the first fatality on death row linked to the illness.

Richard Stitely, convicted of the rape and murder of 47-year-old Carol Unger, was found unresponsive in his cell on June 24, officials said.

A coronavirus test was conducted as part of a coroner’s investigation and the result came back positive, officials said on Monday. Stitely’s actual cause of death was still undetermined pending additional investigation.

Unger, a wife and mother, was at the White Oak Bar in Reseda and Stitely offered to give her a ride home and she was assured by someone in the bar that he was safe. He raped and strangled her and left her body in an alley near the border of North Hollywood and Sun Valley.

Over the last 14 days, COVID-19 cases at San Quentin have spiked, with 890 testing positive. Overall, the prison has had 1,087 confirmed cases, the most of any state prison, according to state data.

San Quentin had recived 121 high-risk inmates from the California Insititute for Men in Chino. That state prison moved 691 inmates to variuous other prisons, because it had had an outbreak of the coronavirus.

They had all tested negative but, when they got to San Quentin, some soon tested positive, said Dana Simas, press secretary for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

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Source:: Los Angeles Daily News


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