Inmate facing execution in O.C. case commits suicide in San Quentin

An inmate sentenced to death hung himself in his cell at San Quentin State Prison over the weekend, officials announced on Tuesday.

The inmate, James Lee Crummel, 68, is the 20th death row inmate to take his own life since California reinstated capital punishment in 1978.

That’s seven more inmates than the 13 who have been executed, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. An additional 57 inmates have died of natural causes while awaiting execution.

Crummel was sentenced to death for killing 13-year-old James Wilfred Trotter in 1979. Law enforcement officials said Crummel kidnapped the boy on his way to school in Costa Mesa, then sexually abused and killed him.

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RELATED: From the Daily Pilot archives, "Crummel convicted of 25-year-old crime," May 20, 2004.


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