Santa Clara County Correctional Deputies Face 15 Years to Life in Prison for Inmate’s Fatal Beating

Three Santa Clara County jail guards convicted of fatally beating a mentally ill inmate will serve 15 years to life in prison. The sentence handed down Friday marks the end of a case that brought unprecedented scrutiny to the region’s two jails and spurred an ongoing reform effort.

Former correctional deputies Jereh Lubrin, Matt Farris and Rafael Rodriquez reportedly wept in the courtroom as Superior Court Judge David A. Cena sentenced them for the 2015 murder of Michael Tyree, who suffered from bipolar disorder and drug abuse. The sentence means they can apply for parole only after serving 15 years behind bars.

According to KQED, defense attorneys for the ex-deputies have already filed paperwork to appeal the sentence.

Tyree’s sister, Shannon Tyree, was unable to attend last week’s sentencing hearing, but prosecutor Matt Braker read a statement on her behalf in court. In it, she said her own life sentence started at 11am on Aug. 27, when the coroner called her with news of her brother’s death.

“Every day since then, I have thought of how forsaken he must have felt that night, how utterly alone, how terrified and I can’t forgive myself,” she wrote. “I will never get a chance to make a different choice for Michael, to tell him I’m so sorry that I didn’t understand that he was so afraid and I’ll never have another chance to tell him how much I love him. I’m accountable for failing Michael. These three men walked into his cell and beat him to death. And they are accountable for that.”

6 Comments

  1. I respect our law enforcement officers through out our country. How ever, I am sick and tired of the excuse in government that we are shorty handed and no money to do anything. I can tell you in the real world, the work would get done of you would be sent down the road kicking rocks.

    This incident just didn’t happen. It has been going on for days, weeks, months, maybe even years. I think that the administration should be held accountable for their actions as well……

    Someone’s if not several heads ought to roll over this mess.

  2. This certainly looks like a “failure of leadership”.

    Did the “leadership” of the Santa Clara County correctional system just hire the first three bozo’s who showed up to apply for a job, give them a gun, and say “here, go to work”?

    I’m a bit hazy on the chain of command. I tuned out a number of years back when there was a food fight over who was going to control the jails.

    Could someone explain the existing chain of command.

    My suspicion is that the “failure of leadership” probably resulted from too many fingers in the pie, and no one having complete, unambiguous accountability for what went on.

    The buck stops with the County Board of Supervisors and Dave Cortese? Or, am I wrong?

  3. The guy was mentally ill and a criminal drug user. He was wasting his life away everyday being a loser and did so willingly. He doesn’t regret being a waste. He would continue down the same path regardless. I know these three men regret what happened and would act differently if they had thought he would die. Now we have three more people in jail, three more wasted lives on top of Michael’s. These 3 officers did not need to kill him, and I believe did not purposely do so. But at least they were giving back to society. They were not “bozos” (improper grammar) as some say. I know them personally. They had families and social circles which will miss them, relied on them. Michael’s death was sad and unnecessary, but the real tragedy is knowing these men who had a chance to make something of themselves no longer can.

    • > They were not “bozos” (improper grammar) as some say.

      You may be correct. I wasn’t there. I don’t know.

      Bozo’s may have been involved, and there is plenty of reason to suspect that the bozo’s were influential in the jail leadership.

  4. How utterly shameful that these “guards” killed this mentally ill inmate and then, when sentenced, wept for their sentences handed to them! Why should we be sad for them when the real victim is dead??
    Also those of you that feel badly for these guards should give your heads a shake! These guys got EXACTLY what they deserved! I also hope that their identities are known when they go to jail!!

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