Suspected Killer Becomes Second Inmate to Die From COVID-19 Related Complications

January 22, 2021 Updated: January 22, 2021

Orange County’s second inmate to die from COVID-19 related complications was awaiting trial for attempted homicide and suspicion of homicide charges.

Ah Le Fang, 37, was arrested and booked August 2017 by the Fullerton Police Department after he was suspected of stabbing his mother and her boyfriend with a knife inside the apartment where they lived together with his older sister.

Fang tested positive for COVID-19 last December and was transferred to a local hospital on Jan. 6, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD) said in a Jan. 21 press release.

Fang’s jury trial was set for July; he in 2018 pleaded not guilty to the suspicion of homicide and attempted murder charges.

The inmate’s death came as Sheriff Don Barnes faces a legal order from a Superior Court judge to release 50 percent of the county’s jail population due to a coronavirus outbreak in the prison population. The lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union who claimed that inmates are getting hurt by being forced to stay in prison during an outbreak that can be lethal to the medically vulnerable.

Barnes has continued to appeal the order, saying that it would be extremely dangerous for the community at large if 1,800 inmates were released.

As of Jan. 22, there were 55 inmates positive for the virus. There have been 2,270 inmates who have tested positive since the beginning of the pandemic.

On the day of the crime, Fang’s mother, 50-year-old Lu Thao, called Fullerton police to report that she had been attacked. When officers arrived at the apartment, they found Thao outside who had been stabbed in the abdomen. Thao’s boyfriend, 75, was stabbed in the arm.

Both victims were taken to the local hospital, where Thao was pronounced dead.

Fang died about a month after the first county inmate suffered fatal COVID-19 complications.

Eddie Lee Anderson, 68, died Dec. 18 after testing his positive for the disease. He was also on trial for murder related to the 1976 rape and killing of Leslie Penrod Harris.

—With files from City News Service

Follow Drew on Twitter: @DrewVanVoorhis