News Releases

Condemned Inmate David Murtishaw Dies of Natural Causes

SAN QUENTIN – Condemned inmate David Leslie Murtishaw, 54, who was on death row for the murder of three University of Southern California film students in 1978, was found unresponsive in his cell last night at San Quentin State Prison. Murtishaw was pronounced dead of natural causes at 10:36 p.m. He was single-celled.

Murtishaw was sentenced to death by a Kern County jury for the April 9, 1978, for the murders of James Lee Henderson, Martha Bernice Soto and Ingrid M. Etayo, who were making a student film in the Mojave Desert.

Murtishaw was received onto California’s death row at San Quentin on May 1, 1979.

Since California reinstated capital punishment in 1978, 55 condemned inmates have died from natural causes, 19 have committed suicide, 13 were executed in California, one was executed in Missouri and six died from other causes. As of November 23, 2011, there are 718 offenders on California’s death row.


November 23, 2011
Contact: Lt. Sam Robinson
(415) 454-1460 ext. 5008 or
Dana Toyama (916) 445-4950