Another California death row inmate has died from what appears to be complications of the coronavirus amid an outbreak sweeping through San Quentin State Prison, authorities said Wednesday.
Jeffrey J. Hawkins, 64, died Tuesday at a hospital outside of the prison near San Francisco, according to the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. The exact cause of his death remains under investigation.
Hawkins was the sixth death row prisoner and the 11th overall at San Quentin to die from confirmed or suspected COVID-19 infections.
Hawkins was sentenced to death in Sacramento County in 1990 for shooting two men in 1987. John Hedlund, a disabled former lumberyard worker, was shot and dumped on a road in Galt after Hawkins spotted him at a bar, while Alfonzo Hicks Jr. was a Rancho Cordova convenience store customer who was killed in a robbery days later that also wounded the store manager.
There have been more than 6,500 confirmed COVID-19 cases among inmates in the state prison system, including more than 1,000 in the past two weeks, and 37 people have died, according to state figures.
Hundreds of employees also have tested positive for the infection.
Dozens of inmates are hospitalized, some of them in intensive care.
California officials have said they plan to release more than 10,000 state prison inmates to try to contain the outbreak. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s plan calls for early release of low-level offenders with little time left on their sentences.