Courts

County inmate charged with murder for beating cellmate to death in drunk tank

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A county jail inmate originally held on a public intoxication charge is now facing a murder rap for allegedly beating a man to death as he slept on the floor of the jail’s drunk tank in 2019.

Prosecutors quietly unveiled the presence of a murder charge against Jesse Mansfield in the death of Simmie Henry McDade in a memo to a sheriff’s commander in June, which served to legally clear a crew of seven deputies working that day of wrongdoing in the death.

Prosecutors said in the memo that McDade was picked up on April 13, 2019, for violating his probation by being drunk in public. While at the jail, he was placed in the drunk tank alongside Jesse Mansfield, who was also arrested for public intoxication.

At around 6:05 PM, Deputy Julio Amaya wrote in a report, he was conducting a cell check when he saw Mansfield kicking McDade in the head several times as he lay on the floor. Amaya banged on the window, yelling “Stop!” as he rushed to grab his keys and unlock the cell door.

As Amaya and his coworkers rushed into the cell, Mansfield continued to stomp on McDade’s head. They took him to the ground, cuffed him, and began to render medical aid to McDade.

He was unresponsive, with a swollen, purple face and fixed eyeballs. With each breath he took, blood spilled from McDade’s mouth, nose, and left ear. He was later pronounced dead at the UC Davis Medical Center.

A witness who was housed in the drunk tank with both men prior to the fight told investigators he didn’t see anything, however, a review of surveillance footage showed Mansfield stomping on McDade as he slept on the floor. Prosecutors said McDade made no movements during the assault and made no attempt to defend himself.

There’s a possibility for Mansfield to spend decades behind bars if he’s convicted on the murder charge, however, his criminal proceedings are currently suspended after he was found to be mentally incompetent to stand trial, a court spokesperson said in an email.

Ethan Biando
Ethan Biando is a freelance journalist from Sacramento. His writing focuses on crime, courts, and policing. Find him on Twitter @ethanb822

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