News Releases

SAC investigating death of incarcerated person as homicide

FOLSOM – California State Prison, Sacramento (SAC) officials are investigating the death of an inmate as a homicide.

At around 12 p.m. Thurs. Sept. 5, staff conducting an institutional count discovered inmate Tou Thao, 38, lying on the floor of his cell unresponsive. An alarm was sounded and responding staff immediately began performing CPR while they awaited an ambulance. Thao was transported to an outside hospital via ambulance where he was pronounced dead at 12:42 p.m.

Officials have identified Thao’s cellmate, Jose Negrete, 45, as the suspect. Negrete has been placed in segregated housing as officials conduct their investigation. The Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office is assisting SAC officials in the investigation. The Office of the Inspector General has been notified.

Negrete was received by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) on Jan. 15, 1997, from San Mateo County to serve a life sentence with the possibility of parole for sodomy with force, kidnapping, sexual battery, attempted penetration with a foreign object, sodomy in concert with force and attempted oral copulation.

Thao was received by CDCR on May. 20, 2016, from Butte County to serve a six-year sentence for second-degree robbery with force likely to produce great bodily injury.

Activated in 1986, SAC is a high-security prison that houses approximately 2,100 general population inmates and employs about 1,700 people. The institution houses long-term inmates, inmates requiring specialized mental health programming, and inmates with high-risk medical concerns.


Contact: Lt. LeVance Quinn (916) 294-3012