3 Northern California officers guilty of murder in beating death of inmate


A jury Thursday found three Northern California correctional officers guilty of second-degree murder in the 2015 fatal beating of a mentally ill inmate.

After a two-month trial, Santa Clara County officers Jereh Lubrin, Matthew Farris and Rafael Rodriguez were convicted in the death of 31-year-old Michael Tyree.

Tyree died from internal bleeding and suffered significant liver and spleen damage. An investigation determined he had been beaten hours before he was found dead in his cell.


Tyree was serving time for misdemeanor theft and drug possession. He had been housed by himself in a section of the jail reserved for inmates who are in protective custody or have special needs.

Farris, Rodriguez and Lubrin face sentences of 15 years to life in prison.

Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith had said the three guards were the only people with access to Tyree’s cell the night he died. Several inmates told police they could hear Tyree screaming for several minutes.

Tyree’s family last year settled a wrongful-death lawsuit with Santa Clara County for $3.6 million. The settlement will be paid to Tyree’s two sisters and his 7-year-old daughter.

The guards also were charged with assaulting another mentally ill inmate, Juan Villa, before Tyree, but the jury deadlocked 10-2 on that charge.