Family Sues for Prison Killing

PHOENIX (CN) – A dead inmate’s family says he was stabbed 15 times and killed at the Tucson state prison after the Department of Corrections refused to place him on “protective segregation status” when he refused to kill another inmate for the Aryan Brotherhood. Two prison officers allegedly took cell-phone photos of Timothy Lucero after he had been stabbed, and sent them to other corrections employees and people outside the prison.

     The family says a member of the Aryan Brotherhood told Lucero to “hit” Christopher Wathan, another inmate. Lucero refused, and told Wathan of the plan to him, according to the complaint in Maricopa County Court. Wathan was killed, causing Lucero to worry about his own safety and to ask to be placed in protective segregation, according to the complaint.
     The lawsuit, filed by Lucero’s parents and daughter, claims he was interviewed by Detective Preston Gamblin about his safety concerns, and that Gamblin told him he needed “to get your family off our back, or else.” Lucero’s sister-in-law had called about her concerns for his safety.
     The Arizona Department of Corrections continued to ignore the family and Lucero’s requests despite being told by Roger Nelson, chief criminal deputy of the Yuma County Attorney’s Office, that Lucero needed to be transferred out of state to finish his sentence because “he was in grave danger while housed in a general population setting,” his family says.
     Lucero was stabbed to death on Sept. 4, 2008 by inmate Byron Monts and other unknown inmates on the recreational field of the Cimarron Unit of the Arizona State Prison Complex in Tucson, according to the complaint.
     Lucero’s family demands punitive damages for recklessness, gross negligence and civil rights violations, and costs of medical expenses, including counseling services.
     They are represented by John C. Doyle of Scottsdale.

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