Crime - Sacto 911

Death-row inmate convicted of Orangevale murder dies

Michael Lee Elliot, who has been on death row at San Quentin State Prison for a 1994 Orangevale murder, died while in custody Monday.

The cause of the death is unknown, pending an autopsy, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation officials said. Elliot, 55, lived in a cell by himself in a hospital, according to Department of Corrections news release.

He was pronounced dead at 3:46 p.m. Monday. Elliot was sentenced to death Oct. 31, 1996, for the June 1994 murder and attempted robbery of part-time bartender Sherri Gandy. The killing occurred in the early morning hours at the Black Stallion bar in Orangevale.

During the trial, Elliot admitted he killed Gandy, a single-mother, but said it was a crime of passion.

According to the Department of Corrections, since California reinstated the death penalty in 1978, 66 inmates have died of natural causes, 23 have committed suicide, 13 have been executed in California, one was executed in Missouri, six have died from other causes and one is pending cause of death. There are 749 people on the state’s death row.

Call The Bee’s Ed Fletcher, (916) 321-1269. Follow him on Twitter @NewsFletch.