News Releases

SVSP Investigates Death of Incarcerated Person as Homicide

SOLEDAD–Salinas Valley State Prison (SVSP) officials are investigating the Oct. 5 death of an incarcerated person at the institution as a homicide.

At approximately 8:50 a.m., Robert Tunstall was attacked on a recreation yard by another incarcerated person. Staff responded immediately and gave verbal orders to stop the attack.

Staff performed life-saving measures and an ambulance was summoned; however, Tunstall was pronounced deceased at 9:21 a.m.

Investigators recovered one inmate-made weapon and limited population movement on the yard to facilitate the investigation being conducted by SVSP’s Investigative Services Unit. The Office of the Inspector General and Monterey County District Attorney’s Office were notified. The Monterey County Coroner will determine Tunstall’s official cause of death.

Tunstall, 64, was admitted from Solano County on Dec. 23, 1976, to serve life with the possibility of parole for first-degree murder.

Institution investigators have identified Lawrence Adams, 42, as the alleged suspect. He was admitted from Tuolumne County on Oct. 26, 2007, to serve life with the possibility of parole for arson of property, a third-strike offense. He was also convicted of possession of an explosive device in a public place and vandalism.

While incarcerated, Adams was sentenced in Lassen County on Jan. 15, 2009, to serve eight years for assault with force likely to cause great bodily injury, an in-prison offense. In addition, Adams was sentenced in Monterey County on Feb. 24, 2016, to serve 12 years for assault by a prisoner with a deadly weapon or force likely to cause great bodily injury, an in-prison offense, and possession/manufacture of a deadly weapon by a prisoner, also an in-prison offense.

SVSP opened in May 1996 in Monterey County. The institution provides long-term housing for 2,955 minimum- and maximum-custody male incarcerated people and employs approximately 1,600 people.




Photo of Lawrence Adams
Lawrence Adams
Photo of Robert Tunstall
Robert Tunstall