News Releases

High Desert State Prison Officials Investigating the Death of an Inmate as a Homicide

SUSANVILLE – Officials at High Desert State Prison (HDSP) and the Lassen County Sheriff’s Office are investigating the death of an incarcerated person as a homicide after he was attacked by two incarcerated persons on Friday, Feb. 18. 

Shorty after 11:00 am, HDSP staff saw incarcerated persons Christopher Dolan and Michael Ellison attack Michael Hastey with manufactured weapons on one of the institution’s exercise yards. 

Officers immediately responded by using chemical agents and batons to quell the incident.

Responding staff transported Hastey to the prison medical facility where health care staff performed life-saving measures. Hastey was pronounced deceased at 12:05 pm.

Hastey, 19, was sentenced to state prison from Trinity County on June 14, 2021, to serve a life with parole sentence for first-degree murder.

Dolan, 30, was sentenced to state prison from Ventura County on March 29, 2017, to serve five years, eight months for assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury, and resisting/deterring officer with threats of violence.

Ellison, 39, was first sentenced to state prison from Riverside County on August 24, 2004, to serve a life with parole sentence for second-degree murder. While incarcerated, Ellison was sentenced in Kern County on Sept. 10, 2009 to serve a two-year sentence for possession/manufacture of a deadly weapon. On Sept. 29, 2005 Ellison was sentenced in Kings County to serve two years, eight months for assault on a prisoner with a deadly weapon likely to produce great bodily injury. Ellison received a two-year sentence on Oct. 27, 2009 from Kern County for possession/manufacture of deadly weapon by a prisoner as a second-striker. Additionally, on June 1, 2017, Ellison received a 16-year sentence in Kern County for assault with a deadly weapon inflicting great bodily injury with an enhancement for prior felony conviction for a serious offense.

The Lassen County Sherriff’s Office and the HDSP Investigative Services Unit are investigating the incident. The Office of the Inspector General has been notified.

HDSP, located in Lassen County, opened in 1995 and houses 2,292 minimum-, medium-, and maximum-custody inmates. The prison provides academic classes, vocational instruction, work assignments and rehabilitation programs and employs more than 1,200 people. For more information, visit


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                            Contact: CDCR Press Office

February 18, 2022