UPDATE: In-Custody Death at the Contra Costa County Jail in Martinez

October 31, 2012 16:42 pm · 45 comments

The Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff and the District Attorney’s Office are continuing to investigate an in-custody death that took place on Tuesday at the Martinez Detention Facility.

The man has been identified as 58-year-old Donald Ray McCullough of Oakland. On October 30, 2012, he was arrested by Pinole Police for second degree burglary, conspiracy, receiving stolen property and probation violation.

The autopsy was performed on Wednesday. The cause of death is pending toxicology and pathology tests. The results normally take 8-12 weeks.

The Sheriff’s Office says at about 12:30PM on Tuesday, McCullough became uncooperative with Deputy Sheriffs in the intake area. As McCullough was escorted to a holding cell, he resisted the Deputies’ efforts to control him. A Deputy Sheriff deployed his taser. The Deputies were able to gain control of McCullough and place him in a safety cell. He was checked by medical staff at the facility. During a check of him at about 2:30PM, a Deputy noticed that McCullough appeared to be unresponsive.

Medical staff at the facility were notified. CPR was started. McCullough was transported to Contra Costa Regional Medical Center where he was later pronounced deceased.

ChampagneKitty October 31, 2012 at 4:46 PM

Maybe he had heart disease…?!?! The autopsy will reveal that if this is so.

Meat Grinder October 31, 2012 at 4:51 PM

R.I.P. P.O.S.

Ron Sauce October 31, 2012 at 4:53 PM




TC October 31, 2012 at 5:03 PM

Maybe officers should be so effing over eager to use those tasers..

Anonymous October 31, 2012 at 5:06 PM

“…he was arrested by Pinole Police for second degree burglary, conspiracy, receiving stolen property and probation violation.”

Well, his death is certainly a huge loss to society, isn’t it?

Koncord Kid October 31, 2012 at 5:15 PM

No Big loss! No Deputy was hurt this guy was a loser, at 58, you would think one would be thru with crime!

Anon October 31, 2012 at 5:25 PM

Sorry but no loss here.

Howard K. Mullins III October 31, 2012 at 5:46 PM

every human being has some value. This man’s death has probably caused some 1 sorrow. We don’t know if this man made any contributions to society. His actions Telus that he did not. Everyone makes their own choices. He made his. will anyone learn anything from the way this man spent life? I wonder if anyone will ever know?

Cowellian October 31, 2012 at 5:57 PM

At 58, you’d think he’d be old enough to know better.

disgusted October 31, 2012 at 6:04 PM

what ever happened to innocent until proven guilty?????this is not the first1st to die in custody in co co county jail,,,,a life is a life…how dare you be such cretin ?

Darwin October 31, 2012 at 6:05 PM

So long you piece of sh*t. No loss, im sure this guy had a long criminal history at the expense of many victims.

Annoyed October 31, 2012 at 6:08 PM

Wow. It’s so cold here. Regardless of him not being a model citizen… he’s DEAD.

doglover October 31, 2012 at 6:19 PM

Another loser of the streets, and we will save the County some money prosecuting him, and housing him.

@ disgusted October 31, 2012 at 7:45 PM

People die every day in hospitals too. Your point?

Dung Beetle October 31, 2012 at 7:55 PM

Innocent until proven guilty?!? He was on probation, which means he was convicted of a crime to receive a probation sentence following served jail time. So in this case, he violated the terms of his court ordered probation from his conviction of a crime…but good try though, You Berkeley bleeding heart goof.

Maybe we should have used "PILLOWS!" October 31, 2012 at 8:37 PM

It is sad that a 58 year old still act’s like this…. How very sad….
I am guessing that this is not his first run in with the police.


I hope that you all have a great holiday season!

doglover October 31, 2012 at 8:45 PM

I mean off the streets. You know it’s just a matter of time, before he would have been back out.

Jorge October 31, 2012 at 9:39 PM

This sounds like murder to me.

Pyrrhus October 31, 2012 at 9:39 PM

Just curious, how many of you that are praising his death consider yourselves a Christian?

BL October 31, 2012 at 9:58 PM


You sound like an idiot to me

Tahini October 31, 2012 at 10:14 PM

As far as saving the county money, let’s wait and see. Something tells me his next of kin will sue.

CoCoCounty925 October 31, 2012 at 10:24 PM

To all of you that are praising the deputies for what in my opinion sounds like use of excessive force on the guy. You don’t know what it is like when your in jail. Granted if he committed a crime he should be in jail, and pay for what he has done. And like “disgusted” said, What happened to innocent until proven guilty”? When your locked up your not treated like a human being (for the most part). Your just a number. And with the recent CNET scandal we all know about is that the police are not perfect. They are human just like the people that are locked up. And before the people start commenting on how I know so much about being locked up. I have been locked up several times. I at one time was not a productive member of society. I was also addicted to meth. But that was in my past. I went to a program, and got clean. I have gotten married to a wonderful women who I love more than anything. We are expecting our first child in January and I have and have kept a job. My point is people can change, don’t be so quick to judge people, and the police are not perfect they do make mistakes and sometimes may kill someone, maybe not purposely, but don’t applaud the fact that a person died. If your actually happy about that then maybe you belong there more than some of the inmates that are currently in there.

JumboJack November 1, 2012 at 6:31 AM

There is no loss here,, the guy should have realized there was going to be some serious ramifications if he chose to mis-behave,,, Once again the single most important thing is that no law officers were hurt, they all go home at night,, after working in a un-safe place 8 hours a day,, they deserve the right to take any measure against a combative, un ruly detainee!!!!!!!!

Lori November 1, 2012 at 8:06 AM

Every loss of life is a loss to someone. By 58, hell, by the age of 15 everyone knows right from wrong. He made his choices, those choices caused his death. To all of the officers that are now going to have to go through the process of explaining what happened hang in there you did your job !!!

Anon November 1, 2012 at 8:25 AM

To all you excessive force advocates, there is 1 Deputy per 75 Inmates in that detention facility. They dont screw around with some lifetime loser that thinks he can come in there and start fighting the staff. Dont fight the police and you wont get tasered… simple.

@ 21
Im not going to side with you on the first half of your entry, but on the second half… Good job, most people arent strong enough to recover from that life.

Anon November 1, 2012 at 8:25 AM

actually that was meant for 22 not 21

TreoBART November 1, 2012 at 9:24 AM

Drugs are bad, kids.

Jorge November 1, 2012 at 10:12 AM

If you are in custody, it is the county’s responsibility to ensure your safety. There is a two hour gap when the county withheld the medical care Mr. McCullough needed, Mr. McCullough is now dead because of the county’s action (inaction). Whether or not there are any criminal charges brought against those that were present does not change the fact that through the county’s actions a man is dead… this is murder.
The family of Mr. McCullough will receive a seven figure settlement from the county.

Screwy Louie November 1, 2012 at 12:49 PM

To those of you who are “annoyed” or “disgusted”, he had choices,
He just kept making bad ones.
Theres only one destination when you take that path.

@ Jorge November 1, 2012 at 2:19 PM

So how many deserving school kids could we have used that money, how many county roads could have been fixed, the problem with California is we reward bad choices with taxpayer money. Our priorities are screwed up in this state, too much money goes to the dregs of society, while UC students have higher and higher tuition costs. Man, I hate these lawsuit where pay some lifer criminals’ family money when they finally reach the end their life of crime caused.

Jorge November 1, 2012 at 2:42 PM

I don’t like seeing my tax dollars going to pay for the actions of these thugs… but sadly they have zero accountability. There will be no charges brought against these deputies. College students are charged when an intoxicated friend dies when left unattended… parents are charged when their children die after being left unattended… we need to stop blaming the victim and charge these thugs for killing Mr. McCullough!

Pyrrhus November 1, 2012 at 2:59 PM

@30 the problem is that we don’t want to fix the symptoms we just want to punish the people. If we had it the way some people are suggesting we would just throw these people in prison and let them rot. They do their time and they are now just hardened criminals. We don’t want to spend money on social programs to keep them from becoming criminals in the first place because that is “socialism.” We also would rather punish than rehabilitate. Now given, there will always be those scumbags that will always be scumbags.

I agree with you that the money could be better spent on education (children, the poor, etc). It costs us $47,000 a year to keep a single person in jail. We spend $8,667 a year for a child to go to school. (Which is about $3,000 less than the national average). Our state is ranked 30th in the nation as far as our public education goes.

@ Pyrrhus November 1, 2012 at 3:46 PM

People will always seek out pleasure, whether it be the drug addict chasing the high or the Catholic priest sexually abusing their alter boys. No amount of prayer or money for your social programs is going to fix that.

Abuse November 1, 2012 at 3:58 PM

My innocent buddy Freitas was treated like crap at MDF. Juryuninformed.blogspot.com <——- The sheriff deputy's kid was the real trouble maker. If he'd been charged with a prior attempted carjacking and all the stabbing at College Park wouldn't have happened.

Mimi (original) November 1, 2012 at 4:09 PM

What happened to the Cardone kid? We’ve seen the vehicular murderer get off essentially scott-free, this fellow react poorly to being tased (heck! I would too), but I haven’t heard a single update about the Cardone case. And he was merely protecting himself from a vicious dog and an overgrown bully.

anonymous November 1, 2012 at 4:13 PM

@ Jorge

You have (once again) absolutely no idea what you are talking about

Ex con November 1, 2012 at 6:09 PM

The deputy did it.

cheetabob1 November 1, 2012 at 6:34 PM

it’s bush’s fault !!!!!

monkey wrench November 2, 2012 at 1:40 PM

It’s Obama’s Fault!

Pyrrhus November 2, 2012 at 1:48 PM

@33 Yes, there will always be people that are like that. However, studies have shown that rehabilitation works much better than just punishment. In Norway they put a huge emphasis on rehabilitation, only 20% of convicts re offend within the first two years. Compare that to the US where it is 43%.

While I don’t agree with making things like a vacation for prisoners. I don’t see how abusing them and making them feel like they are just a number helps anything. Their punishment should be having their ability to do what they want stripped. There needs to be work programs, education programs, counseling, etc for these people.

However, you really need to start with the youth in low income high crime neighborhoods. Look at who their role models are. Many of them do not have a father figure. Their father figure is the local gang leader or the drug dealer that is getting new Jordans every week. Strong mentorship, education, after school programs, and scholarships is what will help decrease crime. Even if the kids don’t want to go the higher education route, have ROP type programs where they can learn real skills through apprenticeships. We still need highly skilled labor in this country.

Or, we can do what you people want to do. Lock them up, throw away the key, and hope some guard bashes or zaps their brain.

Wake Up People November 3, 2012 at 3:21 PM

He may have broken the law but who is the moral criminal to scoff at the loss of a persons life?!? Im sure you are all saints on here who have never broken the law? Someone who runs a red light or stop sign is potentially more of a danger to society than a thief. Get off your high horses, a man died probably from excessive use of force and the gross negligence of county appointed officers who are supposed to PROTECT them. This is not ok. That’s the point of the article. If you think a thief should be murdered then move to North Korea where you can be with other like minded individuals.

Bunny November 3, 2012 at 4:06 PM

Sorry this fellow died even though he had issues with law enforcement no one is helped by his death. We have to be careful with those tasers. It’s better to cooperate with the authorities even when we feel they’re wrong. That’s why we have lawyers. No one wins in a fight with the police.

Nonsense November 4, 2012 at 9:53 PM

To all that think they have life figured out. You don’t what kind of life this man lived. Your judging a book by the cover. So how many companies robbed and bleed America not alone a city. Is that not burglary? You speak as your happy a Man you never even met has been Killed. You say a 58 year old so if your telling me that a 58 year old can take on a 200 plus guard and I’m sure more than one is insane in its own rite. How do any of you know how long or what he has been doing his whole life? You can get on Probation for driving so to assume all you ignorant DF makes and let me know we live in a society than judges without warrant.. If you go to jail for jay walking your still on jail so whatever you cross the inside for you deserve to make it out.

Victorious November 5, 2012 at 1:19 AM

Anyone who has been in Contra Costa County.intake. no exactly how he was treated. and im sure he. wasnt checked. by or recieve medical. attention as he should of been. He was tasered and locked. in a room real smart. Deputies. quit. sittin around talking and start doing your JOB

Lisa Nielsen November 5, 2012 at 12:54 PM

It really sickens me to see the comments people have left. For one, people obviously have way to much time on their hands. Just because he was on probation doesn’t mean he was a bad guy. Doesn’t mean he deserved to die….We all have skeletons in our closet. How can you call somebody a loser when you have never met him. You people who are so stuck up need to get off your pedestals. Some people are born into a difficult complicated life. Some people aren’t. For those of you that don’t know this man, or familiar with this kind of situation you all need to shut the f^^^^^ up. The man is dead. Show some respect. God I get sick of reading comments left by people that are so judgmental and undeserved. How can people talk about someone they have never met. I was told growing up if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

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