2 suspects charged in slaying of San Quentin 6 inmate

AP News
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Posted: Dec 08, 2015 8:56 PM
2 suspects charged in slaying of San Quentin 6 inmate

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Two convicted killers were charged with murder Tuesday in the August slaying of a notorious California inmate, just days after he was released into the general prison population.

The Sacramento County District Attorney's office charged the pair with killing 71-year-old Hugo Pinell at a maximum security prison east of Sacramento.

Pinell himself was a killer who until shortly before his death had spent 45 years in segregation units after a bloody 1971 escape attempt at San Quentin State Prison. He was known as one of the San Quentin 6, helping to slit the throat of prison guards during the failed jailbreak that left six dead.

Jayson William Weaver stabbed Pinell 19 times with an inmate-manufactured weapon while Waylon Douglas Pitchford held him down, prosecutors said. The assault led to a fight involving as many as 70 other inmates.

Prosecutors and the county public defender's office said neither man appears to have an attorney yet. They are set for their first court appearance on March 11.

Both inmates already are serving life sentences for murder, and as a result both now face the special circumstance of having previous murder convictions. Shelly Orio, a spokeswoman for the district attorney's office, said it is too soon to say if prosecutors will seek the death penalty.

Weaver faces the allegation that he used a deadly weapon, along with possession of a weapon while in custody. Both also are charged with assault by inmates serving life sentences.

Weaver was convicted of murder in San Diego County and has a second life sentence from Sacramento County for a previous assault behind bars. Pitchford is serving a Tehama County murder sentence and a 12-year Sacramento County sentence for a prison assault.

Pitchford also has a pending case alleging that he stabbed another inmate in 2013. The public defender's office represents Pitchford on his pending assault charge, but chief assistant Steve Lewis said he could not immediately comment.

Weaver and Pitchford are now being held at California Correctional Institution in Tehachapi. They are both 38 years old.