News Releases

PVSP Investigating Death of Incarcerated Person as Homicide

COALINGA – Pleasant Valley State Prison (PVSP) officials are investigating the death of Richard Derderian as a homicide.

At 10:43 a.m. on Friday, March 10, 2023, an officer found Derderian lying unresponsive in a recreation yard with what appeared to be injuries. An inmate-manufactured weapon was recovered at the scene.

Staff quickly initiated life-saving measures and summoned emergency services to transport him to an on-site medial facility for treatment, where he was pronounced deceased at 11:13 a.m.

Charles Goetting has been identified as the alleged suspect. He has been rehoused to the prison’s administrative segregation unit while the investigation is conducted. SVSP investigative services unit is facilitating the  investigation, along with the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office. The Office of the Inspector General has been notified and the Fresno County Coroner will determine Derderian’s official cause of death. Next-of-kin notifications have been made.

Derderian, 39, was sentenced from Orange County on Aug. 30, 2019 to serve five years for two counts of first-degree robbery with the loss exceeding $200,000, two counts of preventing or dissuading a victim or witness under specific circumstances and two counts of possessing or owning a firearm as a felon. On Oct. 15, 2021, he was sentenced an additional three years by Kern County for the in-prison offenses of providing false statements to obtain unemployment benefits, obtaining aid unlawfully, obtaining money or property by false pretenses, making a fraudulent or false claim and filing a false or forged instrument.  

Goetting, 34, was sentenced from Alameda County on June 28, 2021 to serve life with the possibility of parole for attempted first-degree murder of a peace officer or firefighter with the enhancement of discharge of a firearm, second-degree murder and possession of a firearm by a felon or addict.

PVSP houses minimum-, medium-, and max-security male inmates. The prison opened in Fresno County in 1994, houses more than 2,500 incarcerated people and employs over 3,400 staff. 


Richard Derderian
Richard Derderian
Richard Derderian
Charles Goetting