Inmate Killed at Santa Clara County Jail Wasn't Supposed to Be There

When Michael Tyree was allegedly beaten to death in Santa Clara County Jail, he wasn't even supposed to be in jail. He had already served his time.

As the NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit has reported, Tyree had a history of mental illness, and appeared before the mental health court on various misdemeanor charges many times.

“The disappointment and disgust that I feel cannot be overstated,” Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith said at a news conference.

When Tyree died last week, he had already served his five day jail sentence. He was being kept in the special needs section of Santa Clara County Jail while waiting to be transferred to a residential mental health hospital nearby.

"The public defender and the judge who sentenced him, everybody else thought Michael would be safer in jail than out on the street," said Paula Canny, Tyree's family's attorney. "And the sad fact was that that was a true fact."

Thursday, the coroner's autopsy report showed Tyree died of blunt force trauma at the hands of another person. It confirms what the Investigative Unit reported two days ago, that tyree was beaten so hard he had lacerations to his liver and his spleen leading to internal bleeding.

All three officers involved in the death have been arrested and held in a facility outside of Santa Clara County.

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