Prison death was likely a murder

March 18, 2002|By DARREN SIMON, Staff Writer

The Imperial County Homicide Task Force has released information that a Calipatria State Prison inmate who died March 9 likely was murdered.

John Spade, 40, had his throat slashed with a prison-made shank and bled to death, said county Sheriff's Office Investigator Joe Alvarez, who is assigned to the task force.

Spade's body was found in his cell at 7:52 a.m., according to prison authorities. Correctional officers attempted to resuscitate him, but at 8:39 a.m. he was pronounced dead.

The Homicide Task Force was called to the prison about 10:30 a.m., Alvarez said.

He added the shank used in the killing was recovered. He said Spade was inside his cell when his throat was slashed and it is suspected his cellmate was in the cell at the time. Alvarez stopped short of saying the cellmate is a suspect.


There have been no arrests in the case, and authorities are continuing to investigate the killing.

There also was no information available about a possible motive in the attack. Alvarez said it will be up to prison officials to decide whether they will seek charges in the case.

Spade was serving a six-year sentence for evading a peace officer, causing bodily injury and for being in possession of a controlled substance.

He was expected to remain in prison until 2006.

>> Staff Writer Darren Simon can be reached at 337-4082.

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