Crime - Sacto 911

Trial date set in for man charged in Sacramento cellmate’s death

Ernest Salmons, 33, is interviewed at the Sacramento County Jail on Friday, Jan. 30, 2015, in Sacramento, Calif. Salmons was arrested on suspicion of killing Edward "Skittles" Larson, 54, whose lifeless body was discovered in their cell in the wee hours of Dec. 14.
Ernest Salmons, 33, is interviewed at the Sacramento County Jail on Friday, Jan. 30, 2015, in Sacramento, Calif. Salmons was arrested on suspicion of killing Edward "Skittles" Larson, 54, whose lifeless body was discovered in their cell in the wee hours of Dec. 14.

A Feb. 1 trial date was set Tuesday for a Sacramento County jail inmate accused of killing his cellmate in 2014.

Ernest Salmons faces a murder charge in Sacramento Superior Court in the death of inmate Edward Larson, 54, who was found dead inside his cell in the pre-dawn hours of Dec. 14, 2014.

Salmons, 34, remains in Sacramento County custody but was not in court Tuesday. Salmons’ attorney Michael Long and prosecuting Sacramento County Deputy District Attorney Thomas Asker appeared at the brief hearing.

Salmons, who was being held on suspicion of auto theft and receiving stolen property after an arrest in October 2014, shared the cell with Larson, who had been held on a sexual offender registration violation charge, according to Sacramento County sheriff’s officials.

In an interview with The Sacramento Bee for a story that appeared in March 2015, Salmons said he became angry with Larson the previous afternoon and slapped him across the face but said he did not mean to harm Larson.

Salmons again recounted the incident for the MSNBC program, “Lockup,” in an episode that aired in early January. The cable network program profiles inmates housed in correctional facilities across the country.

The blow caused Larson to fall and hit the back of his head on a concrete bunk. Salmons said Larson was conscious and appeared to be all right, walking in a common area, then sleeping on the cell’s floor later in the evening.

About 3 a.m. on Dec. 14, 2014, Salmons said he awoke to find Larson still on the floor and kicked the man’s feet to try to wake him. Salmons said he called for deputies when Larson did not respond.

Darrell Smith: 916-321-1040, @dvaughnsmith

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