News Releases

Condemned Inmate John Brown Dies of Unknown Cause

SAN QUENTIN —Condemned inmate John George Brown, 71, was found unresponsive in his San Quentin State Prison cell on July 7, 2019, at 6:18 p.m. Custody and medical staff performed CPR; however, Brown was pronounced dead at 6:47 p.m. He had been on California’s death row since June 17, 1982.

Brown was sentenced to death in Orange County on June 11, 1982, for the June 7, 1980, murder of Garden Grove Police Department Officer Donald F. Reed. Reed, who was 27 years old, was fatally shot when Brown opened fire on him and two other police officers who had tried to serve him a felony arrest warrant. Brown was convicted of first-degree murder, assault with intent to murder, and assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer.

Since 1978, when California reinstated capital punishment, 80 condemned inmates have died from natural causes, 26 have committed suicide, 13 have been executed in California, one was executed in Missouri, one was executed in Virginia, 12 have died from other causes and six – including Brown – are pending a cause of death. There are currently 734 offenders on California’s death row.


Contact: 916-445-4950