Inmates who beat JC have all been caught, tried and now in prison serving their sentences; see last article!10-7-2006 California:
John Derek Chamberlain feared the inmates at Theo Lacy Facility in Orange knew he was in for child pornography charges, his longtime friend Dorothy Schell recalled Friday.
"You've got to talk to my attorney to get me out of here," Schell said Chamberlain told her from a jail phone on Tuesday and Wednesday.
"I'm afraid. I'm afraid. I'm really afraid. They know. They know. I'm afraid something is going to happen to me."
He was right.
A group of inmates beat and kicked Chamberlain to death in a shower Thursday night, Orange County Sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino said.
It's unclear as to whether the motive for the killing was linked to his pending criminal case, Amormino added. Chamberlain awaited trial on suspicion of two counts of possessing child pornography and sexual exploitation of a child through the unlawful duplication and exchange of photos, court documents state.
Chamberlain, 41, of Mission Viejo was arrested Sept. 14 on a misdemeanor charge of having child pornography with intent to sell. He pleaded not guilty Sept. 18, and his trial was scheduled for Oct. 24.
Had he been arrested three days later, Chamberlain could have faced felony charges under a new law made effective Sept. 21. The law now gives the District Attorney's Office the option of charging a felony or misdemeanor in such cases.
Chamberlain, a computer technician in Rancho Santa Margarita, awaited his trial in a section of the jail which houses only non-violent criminal offenders, Amormino said. He was in the shower with several other inmates about 6:30 p.m. Thursday when some of the inmates attacked him.
"They kicked him, they beat him while he was in the shower," Amormino said. "Then they dragged him to another location near his bunk and they beat him some more."
Chamberlain was taken to UCI Medical Center in Orange where he was pronounced dead at 7:30 p.m.
"Not every move is being monitored," Amormino said. "They are being held for non-violent crimes. The guard isn't standing there watching them shower."
Schell believes, however, that jail officials could have done more to spare her friend's life. She said Chamberlain's attorney warned jail officials about the inmates to no avail.
She said officials should have moved Chamberlain.
"He should've never been there," Schell said.
Amormino said attorneys and family members of inmates routinely call, reporting their loved one in danger at the jail.
"We always look into it, these calls, investigate them, and if we determine the claims are true, we take appropriate action," Amormino said.
He couldn't comment on this specific case.
A total of 140 inmates were being held in that section of the jail at the time.
Investigators are interviewing the inmates to determine how many people were involved in the beating, Amormino said.
Dorothy Schell dated Chamberlain for nearly 14 years before they split a couple months ago. Chamberlain became physically abusive once in July, which was partly to blame for the breakup, according to Schell.
Chamberlain awaited trial on one count of domestic violence, court documents state.
Schell described Chamberlain as a "gentle" man who enjoyed dancing. He taught engaged couples how to waltz for their first dance.
Schell said it's hard for her to believe the child pornography charges.
"John was 41. John and I dated for 14 years and I'm almost 70," she added. "He was not convicted. He had not gone to court on this."
Even if the charges were true, he didn't deserve death, Schell said.
"I don't want this to happen to another person," she said.
"I want people to know that this could be your brother, your father, your son. When people kill someone like that they don't realize they don't just kill him. They kill the people who love him." ..more.. by CINDY CARCAMO and KIMBERLY EDDS
Inmate death probed: Supervisors want D.A.'s office to investigate killing of a man while deputy watched baseball on television.
Orange County lawmakers are questioning the credibility of a sheriff's investigation into the death of a jail inmate beaten while a deputy watched a Los Angeles Dodgers playoff game on television.
Chris Norby, chairman of the Board of Supervisors, said the sheriff's department should have followed county policy and allowed the District Attorney's Office to conduct the investigation.
"It's to everybody's advantage for the district attorney to do it, so the investigation is as credible as possible," Norby said.
Sheriff's officials in past interviews said the vaguely worded county policy actually gives the sheriff's department the ability to investigate jail homicides if it chooses.
At least three county supervisors launched their own probes after a March 29 report in The Orange County Register that Deputy Kevin Taylor admitted watching television during the estimated 20-minute melee that killed John Derek Chamberlain. Six inmates have been charged in the Oct. 5 homicide, including one who alleged that Taylor instigated the attack with help from Deputy Jason Chapluk, according to investigation records.
County Supervisor John Moorlach said the television was gone when staff members from his office, as well as the office of board chairman Norby, toured the guard station at Theo Lacy facility in Orange last week.
"We viewed it as a form of spoliation (altering) of evidence," Moorlach said. "It made it difficult to confirm what he was watching. What was the angle? Why was a baseball game so captivating?"
A spokesman for the sheriff's department said deputies removed the television while cleaning the guard station the night before Friday's tour and neglected to return it.
"I know it was a surprise even to the captain and the chief who were there," said spokesman Ryan Burris. He said the television was returned, in time for a fact-finding tour Monday by staff members from the office of Supervisor Pat Bates.
Chamberlain, 41, was arrested on misdemeanor charges of possessing child pornography. Hours before his death, his attorney had asked that deputies consider moving Chamberlain to another location for fear of his safety. Taylor and Chapluk told investigators that they offered that day to move Chamberlain, but he declined.
Rumors soon spread that Chamberlain was in custody for molesting a child. Defendant Jared Petrovich, who allegedly orchestrated the beating, told sheriff's investigators that Taylor called him out of the barracks and then talked with Chapluk, loud enough to overhear, about Chamberlain being a child molester.
Chamberlain's father, George, has filed a $20 million dollar liability claim against the county, alleging that deputies instigated the attackon his son.
Supervisors are expected to consider the claim in a closed-door session April 17. ..more.. by TONY SAAVEDRA and RACHANEE SRISAVASDI
Inmates Charged In Death Of Alleged Child Molester
(CBS) SANTA ANA Six current and former inmates at the Theo Lacy jail in Orange County were charged Friday with murder in connection with the beating death of a fellow inmate, according to the District Attorney's Office.
John Derek Chamberlain, 41, of Mission Viejo, was killed Oct. 5 at the jail, 501 The City Drive in Orange. Prosecutors said the six inmates targeted Chamberlain because they believed he was a child molester. Chamberlain was in custody on charges of possessing child pornography.
Chamberlain was beaten inside a jail cell. He was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Sheriff's Department officials said it was the first homicide in an Orange County jail in 20 years.
Murder charges were filed against Garrett Eugene Aguilar, 23; Stephen Paul Carlstrom, 38; Michael Stewart Garten, 21; Eric Charles Miller, 21; Jared Louis Petrovich, 22; and Christopher Teague, 30.
Teague and Miller had since been released from custody, but Miller was re-arrested this afternoon. Teague was still being sought.
The men are all scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday at the Central Justice Center in Santa Ana.
Chamberlain was housed in a "dormitory" unit where all inmates are accused of "non-violent, low-level" crime, sheriff's officials said.
Chamberlain, who had no prior record, was arrested Sept. 14. Deputies had been called to Rancho Santa Margarita on a report of a man exposing himself, but the suspect was not exposing himself when deputies arrived, sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino said.
Instead, deputies saw beer cans and child pornography in his vehicle and arrested him for that, Amormino said. ..more.. by
CA- Orange County DA Releases Jail Death Inquiry
Here is the Orange County District Attorney's Office summary of its investigation into the slaying of John Derek Chamberlain. Chamberlain was beaten to death in Orange County Jail by other inmates, while deputies watched television. The DA investigation, even without the full cooperation of the Orange County Sheriff's Department, found several repeated failures of department policy.
SANTA ANA - Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas (OCDA) announced today the release of The Investigative Report From The 2007 Special Criminal Grand Jury Inquiry Into The Death Of John Derek Chamberlain and the following statement:
BACKGROUND OF JOHN DEREK CHAMBERLAIN
In the evening of September 14, 2006, John Derek Chamberlain was arrested on allegations of possession of child pornography and possession of an open container of alcohol. On October 3, 2006, Chamberlain was transferred to the Theo Lacy detention facility and assigned to "F" Barracks, West, a minimum security location. Two days later at 6:50 p.m., Orange County Sheriff's Department (OCSD) deputies were summoned to a location within the barracks where they observed Chamberlain lying on the floor. He was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. He had suffered numerous severe blunt force trauma injuries, including multiple rib fractures, which lead to respiratory failure and cardiac arrest.
CONFIGURATION OF THEO LACY "F' BARRACKS
"F" Barracks is divided into two equal halves, East and West, regularly staffed by two OCSD deputies and one Sheriff's Special Officer. The maximum occupancy of each half is 146 inmates. A guard station for the on-duty deputies is located between the halves. Each half of "F" Barracks has a central recreational day room. There are numerous "blind spots," or areas outside of open view.
REQUIRED DUTIES OF OCSD DEPUTIES AT THEO LACY
In order to fulfill their duties, the OCSD deputies are required to regularly patrol the interior of the facility every 30 minutes on foot and observe the activities of the inmates. The purpose of these floor checks is to inspect "blind spots," discourage assaults and verify that no inmates are injured or in need of help.
ACTUAL PRACTICE OF SOME OCSD DEPUTIES AT THEO LACY
In practice, some deputies regularly failed to perform their duties of securing the jail and the safety of its inmates. They seldom performed floor checks. The deputies instead largely remained in their guard station, where they were regularly seen watching television, full length movies, playing video games, browsing the Internet, chatting on-line, or sleeping with lights out. Even when awake at their guard station, some OCSD deputies would go as long as 30 minutes without even looking out the windows to scrutinize the barracks under their supervision.
When supervisors, with rankings such as sergeants or higher, walked through the facility, some deputies utilized a code called "10-12" to forewarn others of their approach. Some deputies made entries in the logs which could be interpreted that they had performed their regular patrols when in fact they had not.
INAPPROPRIATE USE OF "SHOT CALLERS"
The OCSD deputies at Theo Lacy substituted other methods than those prescribed by policy to control the inmates under their supervision. They routinely used inmates called "shot callers" to enforce discipline or inflict punishment on other prisoners. If deputies observed conduct on the part of an inmate which they considered a breach of the rules, they would summon the "shot callers" and instruct them to get these inmates "back in line." The deputies knew that if the inmate disregarded the "shot caller," the inmate would be assaulted or "taxed" by other inmates.
Some deputies developed methods, both positive and negative, to get the "shot callers" to do what they wanted. They gave "shot callers" extra privileges such as new uniforms, extra meals, extra hygiene products, and greater toleration or leeway if they broke the rules. Alternatively, the deputies would threaten "shot callers" with negative consequences, such as having their barracks "tossed" or their personal belongings and bedding thrown asunder if they failed to get the inmates under their authority "back in line."
The use of "shot callers" is against OCSD Policy which states, "Inmates will never be permitted to exercise control over other inmates," and "No inmate shall inflict punishment on another inmate." It is also against state law which prohibits investing inmates of penal institutions with the authority to exercise the right of punishment over other inmates.
DENIAL OF MEDICAL TREATMENTS
Some OCSD deputies at Theo Lacy denied medical treatment to inmates in order to avoid having to write required reports, or "cut paper." They encouraged "shot callers" to discourage injured or sick inmates from seeking or making further requests for medical attention.
USE OF UNAUTHORIZED DISCIPLINE AND PUNISHMENT
There were unspecified reports that one Theo Lacy deputy inflicted unauthorized discipline and punishment on inmates using less than lethal force. This deputy reportedly failed to notify his supervisor or document the use of force as required by OCSD Policy. On multiple occasions, for example, a "pepper ball" rifle was fired against inmates of "F" Barracks against Policy. These were for minor transgressions such as inmates not returning to their bunks "fast enough," leaving their bunks against orders, or becoming too loud. In further violation of OCSD Policy, no means of decontamination was provided or allowed to inmates affected by the "pepper ball" rounds.
UNRESTRICTED INFORMATION OF INMATES
Within penal institutions, inmates facing charges related to the sexual assault or abuse of children are often targeted for violent assault by other inmates. Some inmates make concerted efforts to learn the nature of fellow inmates' pending charges, including using OCSD's public information resources. OCSD was repeatedly made aware that its public information resources were being exploited for the purpose of targeting and assaulting inmates with pending child assault or abuse charges.
Public Internet access to certain inmate information ended in July 2006 at the time of John Chamberlain's incarceration. Information concerning an inmate's pending charges, location of incarceration, and bail status remains available, however, to anonymous phone callers upon request. In the days preceding Chamberlain's murder, OCSD received and fulfilled five to 10 anonymous calls requesting information of Chamberlain's pending charges.
During the hour from 5:50 p.m. to 6:50 p.m. on October 5, 2007, John Chamberlain was dragged by other inmates to a "blind spot" within the Theo Lacy "F" Barracks, where he was out of view of OCSD deputies in the guard station. He was beaten to death at that location by successive waves of inmates. Some of the inmates participating in the assaults made repeated trips back and forth from the bathroom to the scene of the assault carrying water to wash the crime scene. None were confronted or interrupted by on-duty OCSD deputies. The deputies remained in the guard station, one reportedly watching television.
No deputy had patrolled the floor of the "F" Barracks, West, where the murder had taken place for a period of at least five hours before Chamberlain's body was found. Nevertheless, the nearby work station log had the entries, "barracks secure," for 6:00 p.m. and "barracks secure, no problems," for 6:30 p.m. After Chamberlain's body was found at 6:50 p.m., OCSD personnel retroactively entered into the log that at 2:30 p.m. Chamberlain had told deputies that he had not been in fear of his life.
Although OCSD was alerted to the fact that the presence of a television in the guard station may constitute a distraction to deputies on duty and may have contributed to the circumstances leading to the murder of Chamberlain, the television was not removed until six months after the murder.
OCSD'S PREVENTION OF AN INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION
Subsequent to the discovery of Chamberlain's body, OCSD personnel prevented the OCDA from conducting an independent homicide investigation into the murder of Chamberlain. This was in violation of existing County protocol and historical precedent. When the sitting 2006-2007 Grand Jury requested information on this protocol, there was evidence that one OCSD official provided it with inaccurate information regarding the investigation of previous custodial deaths.
OCSD'S MISCHARACTERIZATION OF PROTOCOL AND HISTORY TO THE GRAND JURY
At the request of the District Attorney, the Orange County Superior Court convened a 2007 Special Criminal Grand Jury to investigate the murder of John Chamberlain and the circumstances surrounding the OCSD's investigation of that murder. Some OCSD witnesses gave testimony that mischaracterized the protocol and history of custodial death investigations.
OCSD PERSONNEL'S VIOLATION OF SECRECY AND UNTRUTHFULNESS TO THE GRAND JURY
In addition, after testifying before the 2007 Special Criminal Grand Jury, some OCSD personnel violated the secrecy rules governing Grand Jury investigations by disclosing to other OCSD personnel the substance of their testimony, the nature of the questions they had been asked, and the evidence shown to them. These same individuals then knowingly testified falsely before the 2007 Special Criminal Grand Jury concerning their violations of Grand Jury rules.
OCSD'S DELAY OF THE GRAND JURY PROCESS
OCSD records subpoenaed by the Special Grand Jury were either not produced, produced in redacted form or produced by unqualified witnesses. This had the effect of substantially delaying the Grand Jury's progress.
PURPOSE AND PLAN TO PROPOSE REFORMS
This report establishes that the murder of John Chamberlain may have been prevented if existing policies and procedures had been followed and enforced. Our system of justice requires that those accused of crime be afforded due process and justice not only by the court, but by those charged with maintaining them in custody.
The Office of Internal Review (OIR) and an impartial civilian monitor will help monitor and oversee the investigation and evaluation of complaints involving the OCSD.
This Report is merely a beginning to open an informed dialogue over how the County may avoid another such death in the future. Over the next several months, the OCDA will facilitate this dialogue and work with concerned parties to develop additional reforms. ..Source..
Original Investigative Report: From the 2007 Special Criminal Grand Jury Inquiry into the Death of John Derek Chamberlain
Two plead guilty in beating death of inmate
SANTA ANA – Two of nine jail inmates charged in the beating death of a fellow inmate wrongly identified as a child molester pleaded guilty Tuesday to voluntary manslaughter and were each sentenced to 15 years in state prison.
The October 2006 slaying of John Chamberlain, who was in jail on possession of child pornography charges, prompted an investigative report by The Orange County Register that revealed that one of the charged inmates accused a jail deputy of setting up the attack.
It also led to a special Orange County Grand Jury probe. In April 2008, grand jury transcripts were released that revealed widespread negligence by guards at Sheriff's Department jails. No jail officials were charged in connection with Chamberlain's death.
On Tuesday, inmates Christopher Teague, 34, of Long Beach, and Jeremy Dezso Culmann, 27, of Corona, pleaded guilty to one felony count of voluntary manslaughter and were sentenced to 15 years.
They are the second and third inmates to plead guilty in the death of Chamberlain.
Last week, inmate Michael Garten, 25, became the first of the nine accused inmates to plead guilty to voluntary manslaughter pursuant to a plea offer from the Orange County District Attorney's Office. He also pleaded guilty to felony extortion in a separate case, and a probation violation, and was sentenced to 20 years in state prison.
Teague and Coleman were involved only in the initial stages of the attack on Chamberlain, which lasted about 45 minutes, Senior Deputy District Attorney Ebrahim Baytieh said.
After credit for time already served, Teague could be out of prison in about 7 to 8 years, Baytieh said. Culmann will serve 85 percent of his sentence.
Teague was involved in the first 10 seconds of the attack, beating Chamberlain from the neck to the waist, Baytieh said.
Culmann landed two punches on Chamberlain, Baytieh said.
Two more defendants are expected to plead guilty to voluntary manslaughter before a trial starts on Feb. 18, Baytieh said – leaving four to stand trial on murder charges.
"Most of these guys, based on their records, wouldn't be involved in a homicide," Baytieh said. "In this case, they dehumanized the victim and felt that it was acceptable to beat him to death. They created that environment within the jail."
The other inmates charged in the case are Garrett Eugene Aguilar, 28, of Anaheim; Stephen Paul Carlstrom, 42, of Anaheim; Eric Charles Miller, 25, of Huntington Beach; Jared Louis Petrovich, 26, of Tustin; Raul Villafana, 24, of Santa Ana; and Miguel Angel Guillen, 48; of Santa Ana.
Investigators believe that the group targeted Chamberlain on Oct. 5, 2006 under the mistaken belief that he was a child molester, the worst kind of person in the inmate culture. In fact, Chamberlain was accused of possessing child pornography.
The group attacked Chamberlain in a cell in the Theo Lacey jail and repeatedly punched, kicked and stomped him, prosecutors say.
Chamberlain was found bleeding, battered and unconscious, and was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
In March 2007, The Orange County Register published a report detailing how at least one inmate – Petrovich – accused jail Deputy Kevin Taylor of instigating the attack by falsely identifying Chamberlain as a child molester. Taylor, who is no longer with the sheriff's department, denied the allegation.
The Register also reported that Taylor told investigators he was watching television in a nearby guard station when the mob of inmates allegedly beat Chamberlain to death. ..Source.. by GREG HARDESTY and ANDREW GALVIN
Inmates get 15 years in jail-beating death
SANTA ANA – An Orange County judge Friday sentenced two more of the five inmates convicted of beating another prisoner to death to 15 years to life in prison.
While family members and supporters of defendants Garret Eugene Aguilar, 29, of Anaheim and Jared Louis Petrovich, 28, of Tustin were present for the sentencing, no one from victim John Chamberlain's family was at the hearing.
Aguilar and Petrovich were among five inmates who were convicted last year in the Oct. 5, 2006, slaying of Chamberlain, 41, at Theo Lacy Facility, a county jail.
Prosecutors said they and other inmates targeted Chamberlain because they believed he was a child molester. Chamberlain had been awaiting trial on a misdemeanor charge of possessing child pornography.
He was punched, kicked and stomped on and eventually lost consciousness. He was rushed to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
The beating, which triggered several investigations, occurred about 68 feet from where one Orange County sheriff's deputy admitted he was watching "COPS" on television and was dogged by allegations – that were never proven – that deputies helped set up the attack.
"Whether a deputy sheriff was involved in instigating the incident or not, it is not an excuse for beating a guy to death," Superior Court Judge James Stotler said at the sentencing.
He called the defendants' actions "awful," asking Aguilar and Petrovich to reflect on the direction of their lives.
"There were decisions made on that day when Mr. Chamberlain was killed that simply defy reason," Stotler said.
Following the sentencing, Deputy District Attorney Ebrahim Baytieh said the defendants tried to shift the blame to jailhouse deputies.
"(Their attorneys were) anxious to talk about the deputies and how deputies had caused the death of Chamberlain, pointing the finger at everybody but their clients," he said. "Today the truth prevailed ... The ones that killed Chamberlain are the defendants we brought to court and the other inmates."
Last month, Miguel Guillen, 49, of Santa Ana was the first to be sentenced after an Orange County jury earlier in the year found him, Aguilar, Petrovich, Stephen Paul Carlstrom, 43, of Anaheim and Raul Villafana, 25, of Santa Ana guilty of the attack.
"Hopefully this will bring everybody closure," Petrovich's attorney Keith Davidson said after the Friday hearing.
Carlstrom and Villafana will be sentenced in February and April respectively; each faces 15 years to life in prison.
Three other inmates charged in the slaying have pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and a fourth is expected to do so.
Michael Stewart Garten, 26, of Santa Ana was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Christopher Teague, 35, of Long Beach and Jeremy Dezso Culmann, 28, of Corona were each sentenced to 15 years in prison.
Another co-defendant, Eric Charles Miller, 26, of Huntington Beach, is charged with one felony count of murder and faces a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in prison if convicted.
Stotler, the judge, concluded the hearing by repeating to Aguilar the words he said he heard a preacher say in a movie: "'It is not what you've done in the past, it is what you are now.' End of story." ..Source.. by VIK JOLLY / THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
Inmate sentenced in notorious O.C. jail beating death
An inmate in an Orange County jail was sentenced Wednesday to 15 years to life in prison for his role in the fatal gang beating and sexual assault of a fellow inmate who prisoners had incorrectly identified as a child molester, Orange County prosecutors said.
Stephen Paul Carlstron, 44, had been found guilty last year of second-degree murder for the October 2006 death of John Chamberlain, who was in custody at Theo Lacy Jail in Orange on misdemeanor charges of possessing child pornography, prosecutors said.
The case had a broader significance, as it was part of allegations of rampant abuse in Orange County jails. According to grand jury testimony obtained by The Times, Chamberlain was brutally attacked while the nearest guard watched television and sent personal text messages. It wasn't until an inmate stood in front of the guard station, waving his arms, that deputies realized something was wrong.
Prosecutors said Carlstrom was dispatched by a so-called "shot-caller" in a white prison gang to confront Chamberlain and find out why he was incarcerated.
Carlstrom reported back to the shot-caller, identified as Jared Louis Petrovich, who decided with a shot-caller for a Latino gang in the jail that Chamberlain should be attacked, prosecutors said.
Petrovich and Raul Villafana, the leader for the Latino gang, offered 10 commissary items to any inmate that joined in the beating, prosecutors said.
And on Oct. 5, 2006, prosecutors said, Carlstrom and another inmate, Garrett Eugene Aguilar, led Chamberlain into a tucked-away area of the barracks, where he was pummeled, kicked and stomped on, as well as sexually assaulted, by a number of other inmates.
Chamberlain was later taken to a hospital, where he died from his injuries. His ribs were broken in 43 places and he had fractures and contusions all over his body, according to prosecutors. A doctor testified that every one of his organs had been injured in the attack.
Carlstrom is the eighth defendant to be sentenced in the killing. Villafana, 25, was sentenced to 15 years to life for his role in the killing, as were Petrovich, 28, and Aguilar, 30 -- all of whom were found guilty of one count of second-degree murder.
Miguel Guillen, 49, was found guilty of second-degree murder and sentenced to 20 years to life because of two previous convictions for assault with deadly weapon.
Micheal Stewart Garten, 26, was sentenced to 20 years for one felony count of voluntary manslaughter. Christopher Teague, 35, and Jeremy Dezso Culmann, 28, were each sentenced to 15 years in state prison on a felony count of voluntary manslaughter.
An additional inmate, Eric Charles Miller, 26, has been charged with murder but has not yet been tried. ..Source.. by L.A. NOW Home
Huntington Beach man sentenced to six years in fatal jail beating
SANTA ANA - A Huntington Beach man pleaded guilty today to voluntary manslaughter and was immediately sentenced to six years in prison for his role in the fatal jail beating of an Orange County inmate attacked in the mistaken belief that he was a child molester.
Eric Charles Miller, 26, is the last of the nine defendants to be convicted or plead guilty in the Oct. 5, 2006, beating death of John Chamberlain in the Theo Lacy branch jail in Orange.
Miller, who cooperated with authorities from the beginning of the investigation, was sentenced by Orange County Superior Court Judge James Stotler.
Miller was credited for more than six years behind bars, so he likely will be released from custody by tonight, said attorney Frank Davis of the Alternate Defender's Office.
Miller hit Chamberlain a few times during the mass beating, Deputy District Attorney Ebrahim Baytieh said.
"I believe the sentence he received is fair because he cooperated from day one," the prosecutor said. "He laid out his involvement and the other people's involvement."
Baytieh said Miller was "very useful" to investigators as they tried to figure out who was involved in Chamberlain's death. Chamberlain's attackers believed he was locked up for child molestation, but his arrest was on suspicion of misdemeanor possession of child pornography.
Davis said his client "felt horrible" about his involvement in Chamberlain's death. "His attitude was, 'Whatever I can do to fix it and learn from my mistakes.'"
Miller, whose nickname in jail was Stuart Little because of his physical stature, was ordered by a shot caller to participate in the attack while serving 90 days on a drug possession conviction, Davis said. He said his client only had two weeks to serve when Chamberlain was killed.
Convicted last Oct. 25 of second-degree murder were Garret Eugene Aguilar, 30, of Anaheim; Jared Louis Petrovich, 28, of Tustin; Miguel Angel Guillen, 49, of Santa Ana; Raul Villafana, 25, of Santa Ana; and Stephen Paul Carlstrom, 44, of Anaheim.
Villafana, Carlstrom, Aguilar and Petrovich were sentenced to 15 years to life in prison and Guillen was sentenced to 20 years to life because he had prior strikes, Baytieh said.
Three other men -- Michael Stewart Garten, 26, of Santa Ana; Christopher Teague, 35, of Long BeachZZPT; and Jeremy Dezso Culmann, 28, of Corona -- pleaded guilty in January 2011 to voluntary manslaughter.
Garten was sentenced to 11 years in prison but will serve a 20-year term because of additional convictions for extortion and drug-related crimes. Teague and Culmann each got 15 years.
A grand jury probe concluded that the beating death grew out of an institutionalized culture that allowed inmates to run the jails while deputies watched television and slept at times. A jailer was accused of watching "Cops" and text-messaging during the beating, about 65 feet away from a "blind spot" at the jail.
Prosecutors issued a scathing report on how the jails are run after the beating, but never charged any of the guards. ..Source.. by Paul Anderson, City News Service
Eric Miller Sentenced to Six Years For John Chamberlain Murder
The last of the nine former Theo Lacy Jail inmates charged in the Oct. 5, 2006 murder of John Chmaberlain, a fellow prisoner suspected of being a child molester, has been sentenced to prison. Miller, 26, of Huntington Beach, received a punishment of six years in state prison for his role in the murder, which involved dozens of inmates and lasted for up to 45 minutes while guards watched television and texted their girlfriends in a nearby guard tower.
Unlike six other co-defendants who received prison sentences of at least 15 years to life in prison for second-degree murder, Miller was only charged with voluntary manslaughter.
Inmates took turns punching, kicking and stomping on Chamberlain, and at some point, his attackers anally penetrated him with a plastic spoon and a tube of toothpaste. Sources familiar with the case including inmates at the jail when the crime occurred described Miller, a diminutive figure behind bars for drunk driving, as having been heavily medicated when the attack took place. He reportedly broke his arm during the attack.
In interviews with detectives in the hours after the attack, the defendants first claimed not to have been involved and later tried to assert that there was never any plan to murder Chamberlain, and that such beatings were routine events that took place with full knowledge of guards. Only prisoners were charged in the crime, but a jail guard, Kevin Taylor, implicated in the rumor that led to Chamberlain's death, lost his job, as did several high-level officials involved in oversight at Theo Lacy. ..Source.. by Nick Schou