California prison officials on hook for claims by family of inmate killed by ‘vampire slasher’ | Courthouse News Service
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California prison officials on hook for claims by family of inmate killed by ‘vampire slasher’

A self-proclaimed 2,000-year-old vampire told prison guards he drank his victim's blood for "strength and vitality."

(CN) — A federal judge on Monday advanced claims against California prison officials brought by the family of a California prison inmate who was killed in the showers by a convicted murderer who claims to be a 2,000-year-old vampire who drinks his victims’ blood.

Prison officials discovered the body of Aaron Coderre, 40, on May 31, 2020, at the California Health Care Facility in Stockton with multiple stab wounds to his throat.

Inmate, Joshua Rudiger, who police dubbed the “Vampire Slasher” after being found guilty in 1999 in the throat-slashing murder of a homeless woman in San Francisco and the slashing of three other homeless men, was in the showers at the same time as Coderre, according to prison officials.

Rudiger was serving a sentence of life with the possibility of parole for second-degree murder and assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury. He has been charged with Coderre’s killing, according to prison officials.

Rudiger told investigators and correctional staff that he would drink the blood of his victims for strength and vitality.

The facility where the men were held is a state prison that provides medical and mental health care for inmates with severe and long-term needs. It houses nearly 2,700 inmates and employs approximately 4,000 people.

Although U.S. District Judge Troy L. Nunley, a Barack Obama appointee, dismissed two claims in the death of Coderre, he allowed plaintiff Rita Coderre, Aaron’s mother, to proceed with her claim for supervisory liability against defendants Robert Burton, acting warden of the California Health Care Facility, and Shereef Aref, the health care executive at the facility.

“The first amended complaint contains numerous specific allegations against Burton and Aref. For example, plaintiff alleges Burton and Aref ‘directed, encouraged, allowed, and/or ratified’ policies including: denying inmates access to care for medical and psychiatric needs; failing to properly classify, house, and/or monitor inmates suffering from mental disabilities; failing to consider alternatives to placing ill and disturbed inmates with other similarly afflicted inmates; and so on,” Nunley wrote in his ruling.

Nunley continued, “The first amended complaint further alleges that given this report, Burton and Aref 'knew or should have known . . . that Rudiger was highly dangerous and posed a substantial risk of death to other inmates and staff.' Taken together, these allegations make it plausible that Burton and Aref knew or should have known that Rudiger posed a substantial risk to other inmates.”

Nunley gave the plaintiffs leave to file an amended complaint within 30 days, after which the defendants have 21 days to respond.

Before his death, Aaron Coderre was serving a life sentence with the possibility of parole for first-degree attempted murder with an enhancement of personal use of a dangerous weapon.

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