Death Row Inmate Attacks San Quentin Correctional Officer

San Quentin, CA…Condemned inmate Richard Penunuri, 38, attacked a correctional officer at San Quentin State Prison Oct. 3 as he was being secured in the shower stall.


Officials at San Quentin have launched an investigation into the attack that occurred just after 3 p.m. as the officer was removing handcuffs from the inmate in the shower in the prison’s East Block Housing Unit. Penunuri quickly grabbed the officer’s right arm and used an inmate-manufactured slashing weapon to cut the officer’s right forearm

The officer suffered a significant injury to his forearm and was taken to an outside hospital for treatment. The officer is expected to make a full recovery.

The East Block Housing Unit is one of five units in the prison where male inmates on California’s Death Row are housed.

Penunuri, a convicted gang member, was sentenced to death in Los Angeles County on Feb. 1, 2001. He was convicted of first-degree murder in the 1997 gang-related murders of Bryan Molina, 17, and Michael Murillo, 18, who were not gang members and were unintended targets. While in custody at Los Angeles County Jail, Penunuri ordered the murder of Jamie Castillo to prevent him from testifying in the pending double-murder trial. He was also convicted of the first-degree murder of Castillo. Penunuri has been on California’s Death Row since Feb. 7, 2001.

There are 749 inmates on Death Row in California. San Quentin, opened in 1852, is California’s oldest correctional institution. The prison houses approximately 3,800 inmates and employs more than 1,600 people.