California

Ex-deputies had disruptive inmates doused in feces and urine, Calif. prosecutors say

ERIC PAUL ZAMORA/THE FRESNO BEE
A locked door at the Fresno County Jail in downtown Fresno on February 17, 2012.
ERIC PAUL ZAMORA/THE FRESNO BEE A locked door at the Fresno County Jail in downtown Fresno on February 17, 2012. The Fresno Bee file

They called it “spreading the gospel” or a “crappuccino,” the East Bay Times reported.

Now, two ex-deputies at a California jail will face trial on charges that they forced prisoners to spray other inmates — whom the deputies disliked or considered disruptive — with human waste, KTVU reported.

A judge ruled Monday that Justin Linn, 25, of Tracy, and Erik McDermott, 28, of Concord, can be prosecuted on charges of assault and dissuading a witness, the East Bay Times reported.

Prosecutors say the former Santa Rita Jail deputies in Alameda County coerced two inmates to fling urine and feces, also known as “gassing,” at five other prisoners, KTVU reported.

Former inmate Fernando Soria, 48, testified that Linn and McDermott “repeatedly” arranged for him to be doused with feces and urine in 2016, KPIX reported.

Soria testified the deputies refused to allow him to bathe or change his clothes “for days afterward,” according to the station.

Shane Woodcock, also a former inmate, testified the deputies gave one of the attackers special privileges, such as letting him out of his cell and providing him with extra food, along with giving him bags , gloves and other supplies for the “gassing” attacks, KTVU reported.

William Epting, now in jail facing murder charges, testified Monday that he “gassed” Soria three times using a shampoo bottle at the orders of Linn and McDermott, the East Bay Times reported. The ex-deputies nicknamed him “Preacher.”

Co-defendants Sarah Krause, 27, and Stephen Sarcos, 32, who face less serious charges in the case, also were ordered to stand trial last week, KPIX reported.

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Don Sweeney has been a newspaper reporter and editor in California for more than 25 years. He has been a real-time reporter based at The Sacramento Bee since 2016.
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