Investigator: Nebraska inmate stabbed 130 times during riot
Sep. 21, 2017
TECUMSEH, Neb. (AP) — One of two inmates killed during a Nebraska prison riot in March was stabbed more than 130 times, according to investigators.
Michael Galindo died after violence erupted at the Tecumseh State Correctional Institution when inmates took over a housing unit. Police said the uprising — the second fatal riot in two years at the facility — was sparked by staff finding 150 pounds of alcohol made by inmates.
Eric Ramos, another inmate at the prison, has been charged with first-degree murder in Galindo's death.
During a hearing in the case Wednesday, Nebraska State Patrol Investigator Neal Trantham said Galindo died as a result of about 130 "sharp-force wounds" and inhaling smoke from a fire set in the cell where he apparently tried to escape from his assailants.
Surveillance video shows as many as 15 inmates attacked Galindo, but that Ramos was the primary attacker, Trantham said.
Ramos' attorneys questioned that assertion, asking how the investigator could identify Ramos when all inmates wear the same prison-issued clothing. They also noted some attackers draped towels on their heads to conceal their faces.
"What you have is a 'Where's Waldo?' situation," said Jeff Gaertig, one of Ramos' attorneys.
Trantham said Ramos is so far the only one involved he can identify by piecing together surveillance videos from different areas of the housing unit.
The judge ruled there was enough evidence for the case to move forward. No one has been charged in the death of the other inmate found dead after the riots, Damon Fitzgerald.
Brad Hansen, who took over as warden soon after the killings, said the prison was too understaffed at the time to go in sooner to regain control of the housing unit.
The deaths came two years after a larger riot at the same prison left two other inmates dead.