3 Santa Clara County deputies may go on trial for inmate death

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- New details emerged Monday in the beating death of an inmate at the Santa Clara County Jail, allegedly at the hands of three correctional deputies.

Prosecutors worked to prove there is enough evidence to put the deputies on trial for the murder of Michael Tyree, a mentally ill man who died in custody in August. ABC7 News was in the courtroom as the evidence was shared for the first time.

There is also a second inmate who says he was beaten the same night as Tyree but survived. That inmate is scheduled to testify Tuesday.

WATCH VIDEO: EXCLUSIVE: Attorney describes inmate's alleged beating by Santa Clara County deputies

Monday, Tyree's family had to witness gruesome crime scene photos and heard newly released details of his final moments. It was so disturbing one of his family members sobbed in court.

The attorney for Tyree's family, Paula Canny, described newly-released evidence shown in court and why the prosecutor spent most of the day outlining jail logs and video.

"You saw a naked, dead inmate who had been clearly dragged from his cell," said Canny. "What they were trying to show by the timing is that Michael Tyree was in a locked cell when the three deputies went into that cell block, so nobody else but those three deputies could have entered his cell."

Defense attorneys worked to show other inmates could have accessed the cell, not just the accused jail guards. The district attorney's office needs to establish probable cause in order for Rafael Rodriguez, Matthew Farris, and Jereh Lubrin to be tried by a jury.

The three are facing murder charges in Tyree's case and assault under the color of authority charges for allegedly beating a second inmate, Juan Villa.

"The significance is people shouldn't kill people, especially deputies working as correctional officers in jails," Canny said.

Tyree, a 31-year-old mentally ill inmate, died back on Aug. 26. Until now, the autopsy report and other evidence was sealed.

"He was beaten to death. He bled to death because... as a result of the beating, his liver was lacerated," Canny said.

The prosecution is expected to take three days to prove its case before a decision is made regarding trial. The correctional deputies have pleaded not guilty and are currently out on bail.
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