SAN QUENTIN (CBS SF) – Joseph S. Cordova, who was sentenced to San Quentin’s Death Row for the murder of a Contra Costa County 8-year-old girl, has been found dead in his cell, according to state prison officials.
Cordova, 75, was found unresponsive in his single cell on July 1 at 4:08 p.m., prison officials said. Medical assistance was rendered and an ambulance was summoned. He was pronounced deceased at 4:22 p.m.
Officials said there were no signs of trauma; his cause of death and COVID-19 status will be determined by the Marin County Coroner.
Cordova was sentenced to death in Contra Costa County on May 11, 2007, for the rape and murder of eight-year-old Cannie Melinda Bullock in San Pablo.
On Aug. 24, 1979, her mother had left her home alone that night. Her lifeless body was found in the backyard the next morning.
In 2002, investigators matched DNA from the crime scene to Cordova. He was serving a prison sentence in Colorado for child molestation. Cordova was admitted onto death row on May 22, 2007.
Currently, San Quentin is in the midst of a COVID-19 outbreak. As of Thursday morning, there were 1,247 inmates with confirmed COVID-19 infections.
Just last week, 71-year-old Richard Eugene Stitely, on San Quentin’s Death Row since 1992, was found unresponsive in his cell and died a short time later. The coroner’s office said Stitely’s body tested positive for COVID-19 although officials have yet to confirmed the virus was the cause of his death.