Crime - Sacto 911

Man sentenced in death of Sacramento County Jail cellmate

Ernest Salmons, 33, is interviewed at the Sacramento County Jail on Friday, Jan. 30, 2015, in Sacramento.
Ernest Salmons, 33, is interviewed at the Sacramento County Jail on Friday, Jan. 30, 2015, in Sacramento. rpench@sacbee.com

A man convicted of killing his Sacramento County Jail cellmate has been sentenced to 15 years to life in prison.

Ernest Salmons, 34, was found guilty in March of second-degree murder in the December 2014 death of 54-year-old Edward Larson. Salmons was sentenced Friday by Sacramento Superior Court Judge Ernest Sawtelle.

Salmons and Larson were cellmates at the jail. On Dec. 14, 2014, Salmons informed jail staff members that Larson was not moving. Larson was cold to the touch and stiff, authorities said. Medical personnel 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 it was Larson’s blood, according to a Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office news release.

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

In an interview with detectives, Salmons indicated that he slapped Larson twice with an open hand and kicked him once. He said 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.

Cathy Locke: 916-321-5287, @lockecathy

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