Judge rules 3 Santa Clara Co. guards to stand trial for murder in beating death of mentally ill inmate

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- A judge ruled that three jail guards accused of beating a Santa Clara County inmate to death will go on trial for murder.

That decision in the case involving two mentally ill inmates came down late Thursday afternoon.

A judge ruled three Santa Clara County Correctional deputies will go to trial on murder charges for the death of an inmate, the real work for the defense begins.

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

"This case will take a long time to unfold and when it does we'll have a lot more evidence. This is basically a prosecutors area where they put all their evidence and that's the end of it. If you only get one side that's what you get," said defense attorney Bill Rapaport.

Much of the final day of hearing focused on Michael Tyree's autopsy with the medical examiner describing injuries so brutal.

"The blow to the body was of such force that it caused a bruise on the outside of the body and then lacerated the liver in a Y-shaped thing 2.5 inches by 2.5 inches, 1 inch deep," said Paula Canny, the attorney for the Tyree family.

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The medical examiners office classified Tyree's death on Aug. 26 at the Santa Clara County Jail as a homicide after he died of internal bleeding. Now three guards, Rafael Rodriguez, Matthew Farris and Jereh Lubrin face murder charges for Tyree's death and an additional charge for the alleged beating of another inmate Juan Villa.

Attorney Canny represents Tyree's family and Villa.

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"Under the protocol, if there's a use of force they are supposed to fill out a form saying they used force and there was no record of any use of force against Michael Tyree or against Juan Villa," Canny said.

The jail guards will be back in court for arraignment later this month then a trial date will be set.
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