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Condemned Inmate Joseph Safarino Cordova Dies

SAN QUENTIN – Joseph S. Cordova, who had been on California’s death row since 2007, died on July 1, 2020, at San Quentin State Prison. He was 75 years old.

Cordova was found unresponsive in his single cell on July 1 at 4:08 p.m. Medical assistance was rendered and an ambulance was summoned. Cordova was pronounced deceased at 4:22 p.m. There were no signs of trauma; his cause of death and COVID-19 status will be determined by the Marin County Coroner.

Cordova was sentenced to death in Contra Costa County on May 11, 2007, for the rape and murder of eight-year-old Cannie Melinda Bullock in San Pablo. On Aug. 24, 1979, her mother had left her home alone that night. Her lifeless body was found in the backyard the next morning. In 2002, investigators matched DNA from the crime scene to Cordova. He was serving a prison sentence in Colorado for child molestation. Cordova was admitted onto death row on May 22, 2007.

There are currently 724 people on California’s death row. More information about capital punishment in California can be found here: