Two inmates have been charged with murder in the stabbing death of fellow inmate Hugo Pinell, an incident that provoked a fight involving approximately 70 inmates at New Folsom Prison in August.
The Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday that Waylon Pitchford, 38, and Jayson Weaver, also 38, have been charged with the slaying of Pinell, 71, who was part of a group of inmates who tried to break out of San Quentin Prison in 1971. Pitchford and Weaver face the special circumstances of having previous murder convictions, and Weaver faces the allegation that he used a deadly weapon, according to a District Attorney’s Office news release. Pitchford and Weaver also have been charged with assault by a life prisoner, and Weaver faces a third charge of custodial possession of a weapon.
Pinell, Pitchford and Weaver were all inmates at California State Prison, Sacramento, in Folsom on Aug. 12, when Pitchford and Weaver allegedly assaulted Pinell with an inmate-manufactured weapon. Weaver is accused of stabbing Pinell 19 times while Pitchford held Pinell down, according to the District Attorney’s Office. Pinell was unconscious when he arrived in the infirmary, and died of his injuries.
The stabbing sparked a melee among other inmates. Corrections officials said in a statement at the time that “numerous inmates were injured,” including 11 who were taken to outside hospitals for treatment. The riot began in a general-population yard at the prison, which houses 2,300 maximum-security inmates.
Pitchford has a 2013 pending case for allegedly stabbing another inmate with an inmate-manufactured weapon, authorities said. He has a prior 2003 murder conviction in Tehama County, and a 2013 conviction in Sacramento County for assault with a deadly weapon by a state prisoner.
Weaver has a prior 1994 murder conviction in San Diego County, and a 2006 conviction in Sacramento County for assault by a life prisoner with a deadly weapon.
Arraignment for both defendants is scheduled for March 11 in Sacramento Superior Court.
Pinell was originally sent to prison in 1965 on a rape charge in San Francisco County. On March 3, 1971, he killed a guard at the Correctional Training Facility in Soledad, according to the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. He was sentenced to life with possible parole in May 1972.
A few months after killing the Soledad guard, Pinell took part in an August 1971 escape attempt at San Quentin in which six people were killed, including two guards. Pinell was convicted of assaulting two guards in the escape attempt and again sentenced to life with possibility of parole in September 1976. His ninth bid for parole was denied in 2009 and his sentence extended for another 15 years.