‘Unknown’ Liquid – Maybe Urine and Feces – Thrown on Prison Workers by Inmate, Witnesses Charge

By Evie Sun

SACRAMENTO – Two victim-witnesses testified in a preliminary hearing here in Sacramento County Superior Court Tuesday against an in-custody defendant, Richard Collins, who allegedly splashed them with an unknown liquid—thought to be urine and feces—from within his Folsom Prison cell.

The first witness, a psychiatric technician, testified he was assembling inmates’ medication and putting it in small paper cups, and explained that he and the correctional officer usually “set the medication on the shelf, back up, open up the food port and then the inmate grabs the medication, and closes the food port.”

After setting the medication on the ledge of the defendant’s prison cell, the witness backed up approximately three feet to the left of the cell.

“He (inmate Collins) grabbed the food port, pulled it open, and put his arm out the food port, and at that point, I thought he was going to be holding the food port, which happens a lot, so I backed up even further and he handed to his other hand a milk carton and flung it in my direction pretty hard, to get me. At that point, I was probably five plus feet away,” the tech said.

The witness indicated that he was wearing safety glasses and a mask. When asked if the liquid came into contact with any part of his skin on his face, the witness said that it specifically came into contact with his cheek area, forehead, and the top of his head.

He also indicated that the substance had a scent of urine and feces.

After he came into contact with the substance, the witness was taken to the rotunda and swabs were taken. To his knowledge, the swabs did not test positive for urine or feces. “I never got a follow-up on results or anything,” he said.

The witness indicated that, prior to April 27, 2020, he believes he had contact with Collins in connection with his duties as a psychiatric technician.

However, when asked “to your knowledge, were there any instances prior to April 27 in which you had to report some kind of rule violation in regards to Mr. Collins?” The witness responded, “Not that I can recall.”

The second witness, Michael Pusole, is a correctional officer assigned to California State Prisons in the County of Sacramento.

On August 20, 2020, Pusole was assigned to conduct Guard 1 checks about 7:05 a.m. in the psychiatric services unit. “Every 30 minutes, I just do a wellness check. I go to each cell door and use the pipe and check on the inmates and make sure they’re alive and well,” he said.

Pusole was conducting a Guard 1 check when he noticed that the placard in cell 103, or the defendant’s cell, was slightly open, and he stopped to readjust it.

“I was walking by, doing my Guard 1 check. As I pass by, I notice his IEX placard, which is a yellow placard that just sits on his door. I closed it, walked by, stopped next to the next cell over and was talking to that inmate when I noticed and heard a popping noise and an unknown liquid came out,” he said.

After Pusole adjusted Collins’s placard, he immediately heard a voice state, “The f**k is you doing … take my damn placard off or I’m gonna gas your b***h ass.”

However, with the placard closed, Pusole no longer had visual observation of Collins. He conducted a guard check of three cells before reaching cell 103, but he stated that he does not have an independent recollection about whether the inmates were in their cells.

Pusole stated that he was in the middle of a conversation with the inmate in cell 104, with his back to cell 103, when he heard a popping noise. Shortly after hearing the pop, he stated that “it felt cold and wet on the backside of my pant leg and on the lower torso area.”

He said that he did not notice an odor of urine or feces from the liquid substance, nor did it appear to be brown in color. He also stated that he is not aware of whether his swabs tested positive for urine or feces.

Pusole indicated that the liquid was coming out of Collins’s cell. “Once I heard the pop, I felt the liquid substance. I turned around immediately and noticed the liquid coming from under inmate Collins’s cell door,” he said.

He also stated that August 20, 2020, was the first time he had contact with Collins.

Pusole was given a “Medical Report of Injury or Unusual Occurrence” and returned to work afterwards. In addition, he stated that his clothes were not seized for evidentiary value. He also stated that he is not aware of whether a search was conducted of Collins’ cell.

Judge Donald J. Currier set a trial readiness conference for Feb. 26 at 9 a.m. in Dept. 4 and the jury trial date for March 1 at 8:45 a.m.in Dept. 9.

Evie Sun is a third-year student at UCLA, studying Sociology. She is from the East Bay Area.

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About The Author

The Vanguard Court Watch operates in Yolo, Sacramento and Sacramento Counties with a mission to monitor and report on court cases. Anyone interested in interning at the Courthouse or volunteering to monitor cases should contact the Vanguard at info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org - please email info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org if you find inaccuracies in this report.

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