Crime - Sacto 911

Sacramento County jail inmate convicted in cellmate’s 2014 death

Ernest Salmons is interviewed at Sacramento County jail on Friday, Jan. 30, 2015, in Sacramento.
Ernest Salmons is interviewed at Sacramento County jail on Friday, Jan. 30, 2015, in Sacramento. rpench@sacbee.com

A Sacramento County jury Tuesday convicted 34-year-old Ernest Salmons of second-degree murder in the December 2014 death of cellmate Edward Larson.

Salmons and Larson, 54, were sharing a Sacramento County jail cell. On Dec. 14, 2014, Salmons informed jail staff members that Larson was not moving. Larson was cold to the touch and stiff, according to a Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office news release. Medical personnel immediately responded but were unable to revive Larson.

Authorities said there was no apparent evidence of a struggle or blood in the cell. But when the cell was processed with a latent blood reagent, significant traces of blood were revealed, including a large pool of blood on the floor along the wall next to the bunk. Blood collected and tested by the district attorney’s Crime Lab confirmed that the blood was Larson’s.

The coroner concluded Larson died from blunt force injuries inflicted in an assault. Larson suffered lacerations to the liver, as well as nine broken ribs on his right side and seven broken ribs on his left side.

In an interview with detectives, Salmons indicated he slapped Larson twice with an open hand and kicked him once, authorities said. He stated that Larson voluntarily hit his own head a few times.

At the time of his death, Larson was being held on a sexual registration violation charge, sheriff’s officials said. Salmons had been in jail since Oct. 25, 2014, on suspicion of auto theft and possession of stolen property.

Salmons is to be sentenced April 8 by Sacramento Superior Court Judge Ernest Sawtelle.

Cathy Locke: 916-321-5287, @lockecathy

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