Death Row Inmate Killed in Fatal San Quentin Stabbing

Despite the fact that inmates have been sentenced to be executed for their crimes, death row tends to be a relatively uneventful place. You may think that inmates, having been sentenced to death, would have no reason to behave and toe the line. It would be quite easy for violent offenders to continue their violent habits once they’re locked up for good. However, research shows that most inmates “awaiting execution on death row have served their time without major incident.” Most violent incidents in a prison actually involve inmates who are have not been sentenced to death.

Murder on Death Row at San Quentin

Every once in a while, however, death row inmates shake things up. Earlier this month, one death row inmate was killed by another at San Quentin State Prison. The victim, 30-year-old Jonathan Fajardo, was allegedly stabbed in the neck and chest while enjoying some recreation time with other inmates. Fajardo was on death row for the two brutal murders, both of which were gang-related. The first involved 14-year-old black girl, who was gunned down in a racially-charged incident. The second involved a man Fajardo’s gang believed was cooperating with police. He was convicted and sentenced to death back in 2010.

It’s believed that Fajardo was stabbed to death by 34-year-old death row inmate Luis Rodriguez. According to reports, Farajdo was able to discreetly fashion a weapon in his cell. This is quite surprising, given the extreme security measures that are employed on death row. Inmates are monitored closely to ensure things like this don’t happen.

Then again, death row inmates aren’t locked away in solitary confinement while they await their executions. Instead, inmates who demonstrate good behavior can socialize together and even enjoy certain community privileges, such as outdoor rec time. Only those inmates who are outwardly violent face the most limiting restrictions.

Gang Affiliation Could Be Motivation for Slaying

Like Fajardo, Rodriguez was on death row for gang-related crimes. Specifically, Rodriguez was at San Quentin for the fatal shootings of two rival gang members with an AK-47. Gang affiliations don’t simply fade away when prisoners are locked up and/or sentenced to death. In fact, the presence of gangs in prisons like San Quentin can be quite pervasive. It’s quite possible that Fajardo’s death was yet another gang-related slaying. An investigation is still attempting to uncover a motive for the brutal attack.

Death Row Has a Death Row

Luis Rodriguez is already on death row and facing execution for killing rival gang members in Los Angeles. What happens if it’s determined that he is, in fact, responsible for Fajardo’s death? The most likely scenario is for Rodriguez to be sent to San Quentin’s Adjustment Center. It’s known as the place where no one ever wants to go, or the death row of death row.

The Adjustment Center is the most secure prison facility in the state of California. It’s where the most violent death row offenders are held until their executions are carried out. About one out of every seven death row inmates at San Quentin is detained here.

Inmates are housed individually and often spend 24-hours a day in their cells, only seeing the outdoors for three hours each week. When inmates are outside, they’re often required to spend their time in a steel cage so that they cannot hurt other inmates or officers. Some inmates are even required to wear special restraining equipment to prevent them from assaulting guards while moving throughout the Center. Visit SAFE California for more California death penalty news.

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