SAN QUENTIN (CBS SF) — Condemned killer David Reed, who had been sentenced to San Quentin’s Death Row for the racially movitated murder of a Black transient near a Palm Springs restaurant in 2004, has died while being treated for a COVID-19 infection, state prison officials announced Wednesday.
Since the San Quentin COVID-19 outbreak began last month, six inmates sentenced to California’s death row have died. Three death row inmates — Dewayne Carey, Scott Erskine and Manuel Alvarez — have been confirmed as victims of the illness.
The 60-year-old Reed and Joseph S. Cordova, who had been sentenced to death for the rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in San Pablo, died while being treated in an outside hospital for COVID-19 complications. The Marin County coroner’s office has yet to confirmed that COVID-19 was the cause of death.
Richard Stitely, 71, was found unresponsive in his cell in June and an autopsy revealed he was positive for COVID-19. The coroner has yet to confirm that the virus was the cause of his death.
Three inmates from San Quentin’s general population have also died.
As of Wednesday morning, San Quentin had 1,304 active cases among the inmate population with dozens being treated at outside hospitals. 158 inmates have recovered from their infections, 16 infected inmates have been released from prison and there have been six confirmed COVID-19 deaths.
Riverside County Superior Court Judge James S. Hawkins, who has since retired, upheld the jury’s recommendation that Reed be put to death rather than be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole in 2011.
Hawkins said the evidence supported the jury’s verdict and death penalty recommendation. He cited how the defendant was lying in wait for the victim, the racially charged remarks he made during his confession to detectives, and allegations of past murders.
The body of Ricky Mosley was found on March 9, 2004, near Billy Reed’s restaurant in the 1800 block of North Palm Canyon Drive. In a recorded interview, Reed told police detectives he had staked out the area for about two weeks for a man he believed had sexually assaulted his estranged wife.
Ross said the killing was racially motivated. He showed jurors a photo of Mosley’s stab wound and played the interview of Reed discussing the killing and using a racial epithet to describe the 34-year-old victim.
Ross said Reed waited for two weeks for Mosley to come around the restaurant and then stabbed him through the heart. He broke off the knife handle and hid it and the blade near his mother’s apartment building, the prosecutor said.
In an interview, Reed told investigators he doesn’t like black people, according to Ross, who showed jurors photos of Reed’s tattoos, one of which reads “white pride” and another that says “Peckerwood,” a term Ross said is associated with white supremacy.