California Death Row Inmate Dies From Apparent COVID-19 Complications

July 23, 2020 Updated: July 23, 2020

A California death row inmate who was convicted of the murder of a 7-year-old girl died at a hospital on Monday following an outbreak of COVID-19 at the San Quentin State Prison.

The California Department of Corrections (CDCR) said Troy Ashmus, 58, was pronounced dead at the hospital outside the state prison. He’s now the seventh death row prisoner and 13th overall to die at the San Quentin prison.

His exact cause of death was under investigation, but officials said it appears to be COVID-19-related.

Ashmus was convicted of sexually assaulting and murdering 7-year-old Marcella Davis in 1984. She had biked to a park in Sacramento but never returned home, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

“Ashmus was admitted to state prison from Sacramento County on Sept. 18, 1985, to serve a six-year sentence for assault with intent to commit a specific sex crime. While incarcerated, he was sentenced to death on July 25, 1986, by a Sacramento County jury,” the state corrections department wrote. There are now 718 people on California’s death row.

Since 1986, Ashmus has been on death row.

According to KOVR, citing officials, 64-year-old Jeffrey Jay Hawkins, another death row inmate, died from complications consistent with the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, which causes the disease COVID-19.

California’s prison system so far has recorded nearly 7,000 CCP virus cases among inmates, and at least 39 inmates in the state’s prison system have died from virus complications. Meanwhile, dozens of inmates remain hospitalized, with some in intensive care.

State officials have reported that more than 800 corrections employees have contracted the virus.

According to the CDCR’s coronavirus tracker, some 925 inmates at San Quentin prison have active infections.