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Inmates indicted in '06 riot at Pitchess

Eight face murder charges; bail $2.7 million each

Posted: August 7, 2008 8:18 p.m.
Updated: October 9, 2008 5:01 a.m.

A Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department official speaks to reporters about the riots at the North County Correctional Facility shortly after they occurred in February 2006. Eight inmates were arraigned Thursday on murder charges in the death of a fellow prisoner diuring the riots.

 

Two and a half years after a Castaic jail inmate's head was smashed with a metal bunk bed during a riot, eight of his fellow prisoners were arraigned Thursday on murder charges.

The race riot erupted on the afternoon of Feb. 4, 2006, at the North County Correctional Facility, when white and Hispanic inmates lashed out at black prisoners. Officials said at least 300 men were involved in the brawl. It took deputies about an hour to quell the fighting.

During the fracas, 45-year-old Wayne Tiznor was killed. Forty-six inmates were injured.

Arraigned Thursday were: Osbaldo Valenzuela, 29, Enrique Reyes, 30, Andres Madrigal, 27, David Reynoso, 25, Donald Bottoms, 26, Christopher Shrauger, 30, Steven Burns, 26, and Christopher Crews, 28.

The indictment alleges that the murder was a gang-related hate crime, and that the eight acted together.

With exception of Crews, who is in custody at Twin Towers Correctional Facility, all the men are being held at Men's Central Jail. All eight are being held in lieu of $2.07 million dollars bail each.

The four-page indictment, dated June 18, chronicles what prosecutors say happened the day of the riot.

Among other things, the indictment alleges:
n On or about Feb. 2 or Feb. 3, 2006, Crews and Bottoms - who are white - approached another inmate and told him that when the riot started, he needed to join white and Hispanic inmates in fighting black inmates.
n On Feb. 4 at about 3:15 p.m., inmates who were members of the Los Angeles Southsider Street Gang yelled to other Southsiders to start rioting against black inmates.
n During the riot, white and Hispanic inmates including Burns, Bottoms and Madrigal attacked Tiznor, kicking him and smashing a metal bunk bed on his head.
n Reynoso threw his body on the bunk bed as it crushed Tiznor's head and upper body.
n During the attack Crews yelled, "Kill him!"
n Another inmate heard rioters yelling, "Kill the n-----s!"
n Reyes prevented black inmates from coming to Tiznor's aid and directed other Hispanic inmates to:

"Keep them black m----rf-----s in the corner!"

North County Correctional Facility is a maze of concrete hallways with dormitories that house hundreds of inmates; the jail population totals about 4,000.

Each small dorm holds 60 to 70 inmates who sleep on steel bunk beds and spend their entire day inside the cell.

The facility is overseen by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and staffed by 36 female and 181 male deputies.

In the weeks after the riot, Sheriff Lee Baca had the inmates segregated by race to quell any further fighting.

If convicted, the eight men could each be sentenced to life in prison, according to a Thursday news release from the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office. The hate crime allegation carries a life-without-parole sentence.

A pre-trial hearing is set for Sept. 25. The case is being prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Dayan Mathai of the Hardcore Gang Division.

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