Autopsy report on California prison inmate’s death reveals gruesome details

Not long after 24-year-old inmate Nicholas Rodriguez went missing, guards discovered his body nearly sawed in half, eviscerated and stuffed into a garbage can in a shower stall at the medium security California State Prison, Solano, in Vacaville.

The Associated Press obtained the victim’s autopsy report under a public records request and reported on it Friday. Officials for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation declined to comment on the details of Rodriguez’s death, which is under investigation.

Rodriguez had been serving an eight-year sentence for second-degree robbery using a firearm in Oakland. He shared a cell with Jesus Perez, 46, who had been serving a 26-year-to-life sentence for first-degree murder in Los Angeles County.

Perez is suspected of killing Rodriguez, according to the Corrections Department. He is being held in segregation and has not been charged.

Rodriguez’s body was uncovered on May 4 less than 24 hours after dozens of inmates rioted in the prison yard. The morning riot lasted half an hour. During a head count that afternoon, Rodriguez was missing and was thought to have escaped.

Five hours later, his body was found a few doors from his cell. The AP reported that his abdominal organs and most of his chest organs had been removed.

Authorities are looking into what role the riot may have played in the slaying. Three inmates and a guard were injured in the brawl, which was subdued with pepper spray.

According to the May 27 autopsy by the Solano County sheriff-coroner’s office, Rodriguez had alcohol in his system and was dead before his body was mutilated. He had a deep star-shaped wound on his forehead, as well as multiple skull fractures, cuts and wounds.

The Vacaville prison, 40 miles southwest of Sacramento, houses about 3,850 inmates. The prison was designed to accommodate 2,610 inmates.

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