News Releases

Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility Officials Investigating the Death of an Incarcerated Person as a Homicide

deceased inmate John R. Thurs
John R. Thurs

OTAY MESA – Officials at Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility (RJD) and the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Unit are investigating the May 7 death of inmate John R. Thurs as a homicide.

Thurs, 56, was attacked by three inmates at approximately 7:15 p.m. Friday on a recreation yard and stabbed. An inmate-manufactured weapon was recovered at the scene. Thurs was transported to an outside hospital but succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced deceased at 9:02 p.m. Confirmation that his next of kin was notified was made today.

incarcerated person Aaron M. Sims
Aaron M. Sims

Thurs was admitted from Sacramento County on Sept. 25, 1995, to serve life with the possibility of parole for involuntary manslaughter, a third strike; possession of a firearm by an ex-felon, a third strike; and an enhancement for having a prior felony conviction of a serious offense.

RJD investigators have identified inmates Aaron M. Sims, Leslie A. Bond, Jr. and Andrew T. Hofer as suspects in this case.

incarcerated person Leslie A. Bond, Jr.
Leslie A. Bond, Jr.

Sims, 37, was admitted from Kings County on June 14, 2019, to serve six years for assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury, a second strike, and possession of paraphernalia/drugs/alcohol in jail/prison, a second strike.

Bond, 36, was admitted from Butte County on Aug. 5, 2010, to serve life with the possibility of parole for second-degree murder and possession of a controlled substance.

Hofer, 24, was admitted from San Diego County on Dec. 20, 2018, to serve seven years for gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, driving under the influence causing bodily injury/death and enhancements for inflicting great bodily injury and causing bodily injury or death to more than one victim.

incarcerated person Andrew T. Hofer
Andrew T. Hofer

The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Unit and the RJD Investigative Services Unit are investigating. The Office of the Inspector General was notified.

RJD opened in 1987, houses approximately 3,380 minimum-, medium-, and maximum-security inmates and employs 1,832 people. RJD’s primary mission is to provide long-term housing and professional rehabilitative services for incarcerated people of all custody levels.


Contact: CDCR Press Office, (916) 445-4950,

San Diego County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Unit contact: (858) 285-6330