DEL NORTE– California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) officials are investigating the March 23 death of an incarcerated person at Pelican Bay State
Prison (PBSP) as a homicide.
At approximately 2:10 p.m., PBSP officers and medical staff responded when
incarcerated persons Nathaniel Dorswitt and Derek Lantz attacked incarcerated person
Joseph Hill on one of the institution yards. Staff quelled the incident.
Hill was taken to the prison’s triage and treatment area for treatment of injuries he
sustained from the attack. He was then transported to a local hospital for a higher level
of care; however, he was pronounced dead at 3:51 p.m. Officers recovered one inmate manufactured weapon.
Dorswitt, 26, was sentenced to CDCR on Nov. 9, 2021, from San Bernardino County to
serve a 15-year, sentence for first degree burglary and attempted second-degree
murder, a second-strike offense.
Lantz, 48, was sentenced to CDCR on July 27, 2016, from Orange County to serve a
life sentence with the possibility of parole for attempted first-degree murder with assault
with a deadly weapon and inflicting great bodily injury, a second-strike offense.
Hill, 53, was sentenced to CDCR on November 23, 2015, from San Diego County to
serve a life sentence with the possibility of parole for possession of controlled substance
(CS) for sale, possession of CS while armed with loaded firearm, battery with serious
injury, first degree murder and attempted murder, two counts of use of firearm/discharge
firearm and intentional discharge of firearm causing great bodily injure (GBI)/death,
possession/own firearm by felon or addict, inflict corporal injury on spouse/cohabitant,
two counts of inflict GBI involving domestic violence, assault with force likely to produce
GBI, a third-strike offense.
Officials have limited population movement on the yard to facilitate the investigation
being conducted by PBSP’s Investigative Services Unit, the Del Norte County District
Attorney’s Office and the Del Norte County Coroner. Dorswitt and Lantz have been
placed in segregated housing pending the investigation.
The Office of the Inspector General was notified and the Del Norte County Coroner will
determine Hill’s official cause of death.
No staff members or additional incarcerated people were injured as a result of this
PBSP opened in 1989 and houses approximately 1,672 minimum-, medium-, high- and
maximum-security custody incarcerated people. It is located in 13 miles from the
Oregon-California border. Just a few of the things PBSP offers is academic classes,
vocational programs, rehabilitative programs, medical services, mental health services,
religious services, work assignments and self-help groups, and employs approximately
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 23, 2023
Contact: OPEC Press Office