News Releases

Pelican Bay State Prison Investigating Inmate Death as Homicide

CRESCENT CITY – Pelican Bay State Prison officials are investigating the death of a 57-year-old inmate as a possible homicide.

On May 12, inmate Paul A. Diaz was pronounced dead at 12:44 p.m. at an area hospital. He was hospitalized for injuries received on April 30 when officers found Diaz injured and unconscious in his cell and his cellmate, James W. Fung standing over him. Staff handcuffed Fung without incident and immediately called for an ambulance. Diaz was transported to an area hospital and later transported to a trauma center by emergency life flight.

Diaz was received from Los Angeles County in September 1991 to serve a life sentence with the possibility of parole for first-degree murder and use of a firearm.

Fung was admitted from Riverside County on March 29, 2013 to serve a life sentence with the possibility of parole for first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder. After the recent cell incident, Fung was re-housed in the Administrative Segregation Unit pending investigation.

The Del Norte County District Attorney’s Office is assisting in the investigation. The Office of Inspector General was notified.

Pelican Bay State Prison, located in Del Norte County, houses 2,582 minimum-, medium-, and maximum-security inmates. The institution provides high school and college academic classes, career technical education, work assignments, self-help programs, arts-in-corrections, computer literacy and other rehabilitation programs that address substance use disorders, anger management and family relationships. The institution opened in 1989 and employs more than 1,200 people.


May 13, 2019

CONTACT: Lt. John Silveira

(707) 465-9040