Orange County Deputies on Leave After Death of Man Who Shared a Cell With Double Murderer


Five Orange County Sheriff’s deputies are on paid leave following the killing of a convicted car thief who shared a jail cell with an accused double-murderer.

The Orange County District Attorney’s Office as well as the sheriff’s department are conducting separate investigations into the July 3 death of 27-year-old Danny Pham, who was serving a 180-day sentence for car theft.

Investigators from both agencies are looking into, among other things, suspicions that deputies did not check Pham’s cell in a timely manner, the Register has learned.

Pham’s family in Westminster also wants to know why he was placed with Marvin Magallanes, an Anaheim man who confessed in May to killing two transients and whose mental capacity was questioned by a judge. Pham did not have a history of criminal violence in Orange County.

The district attorney’s office is conducting a criminal homicide investigation, while the sheriff is looking at whether deputies followed internal procedures. Both agencies declined comment on Friday.

The placement of Pham with Magallanes could violate jail protocol. Jail officials classify inmates into various housing locations depending on their past confinement history, current charges, criminal sophistication, and a host of other indicators, according to the sheriff’s website. The purpose of the classification system is to minimize the risks to staff and inmates.

Pham was found dead in his cell by a jailer making a food delivery. He died with less than a week left on his sentence, his attorney said. Authorities have not released the cause of death or said if Magallanes is a suspect.

Pham’s death came less than a week after the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California blasted Orange County’s five jails for excessive violence, harsh treatment of mentally ill prisoners and unhealthy living conditions.

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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 3206 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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  • crazytrain2

    So, was this a recent move, or had he served his 170 some days of his 180 day sentence with the same cell mate?