THREE FORMER INMATES INDICTED WITH MURDER FOR BEATING DEATH OF FELLOW INMATE

OCDASeal

Orange County District Attorney
Press Release


Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701

For Immediate Release
Case # 08ZF0021

March 7, 2008

Susan Kang Schroeder
Public Affairs Counsel
Office: 714-347-8408
Cell: 714-292-2718

Farrah Emami
Spokesperson
Office: 714-347-8405
Cell: 714-323-4486

THREE FORMER INMATES INDICTED WITH MURDER FOR BEATING DEATH OF FELLOW INMATE

                       * Nine total will now await trial for participating in same murder

 

SANTA ANA – Orange County District Attorney (OCDA) Tony Rackauckas announced today the findings of the Special Criminal Grand Jury (SCGJ) inquiry and the unsealing of the indictment against two additional former inmates for the beating death murder of a fellow inmate at the Theo Lacy Facility in Orange.  On February 21, 2008, the SCGJ indicted Raul Villafana, 21, Costa Mesa, and Jeremy Culmann, 24, Corona, with one count of murder for the death of John Chamberlain. This indictment also supersedes the charges filed on December 27, 2007, on another inmate defendant, Miguel Angel Guillen, 45. The indictment was unsealed this morning in Department C-5, Central Justice Center, in Santa Ana. 

 

Six additional inmates, Garrett Aguilar, 25, Stephen Carlstrom, 39, Michael Garten, 22, Eric Miller, 22, Jared Petrovich, 24, and Christopher Teague, 31, were charged in November 2006 with one count of murder for the death of John Chamberlain. If convicted, they each face 25 years to life in prison.  Nine total defendants are expected to be joined in the jury trial currently set on Friday, June 13, 2008 at 9 a.m., in C-41, at the Central Justice Center

 

On October 5, 2006, a group of inmates are accused of targeting Chamberlain because they believed him to be a child molester.  Chamberlain was in custody on possession of child pornography charges.  These inmates are accused of beating Chamberlain repeatedly inside a cell in the jail facility.  Chamberlain was transported to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.   

 

Senior Deputy District Attorney Ebrahim Baytieh of the Homicide Unit and Deputy District Attorney Keith Bogardus of the Special Prosecutions Unit will jointly prosecute this case. 

 

SPECIAL GRAND JURY

On May 17, 2007, a SCGJ was empanelled at the request of the OCDA to investigate the death of John Chamberlain.  A thorough investigation of all the circumstances surrounding that death was conducted to determine whether there may be any criminal culpability on the part of members of the Orange County Sheriff Department (OCSD).  The OCDA requested the inquiry to determine whether there was a failure of duty or malfeasance by any OCSD jail personnel (from the highest to the lowest ranking), whether any OCSD personnel aided and abetted the murder of Chamberlain or was criminally negligent in his death, identify other inmate assailants,