Another San Quentin inmate is found dead in his Death Row cell – San Francisco Chronicle

A San Quentin State Prison inmate on Death Row, convicted in the cold-case killing of an 8-year-old Bay Area girl, has died, and officials are investigating whether he was infected with the coronavirus.

Joseph S. Cordova, 75, was found unresponsive in his single cell at 4:08 p.m. Wednesday, officials said. He was pronounced dead at 4:22 p.m. after attempts to revive him.

Cordova had been on Death Row since 2007, after he was convicted in the 1979 rape and strangulation murder of 8-year-old Cannie Bullock, who was attacked in her San Pablo home while her mother was out drinking with some friends. In 2002, DNA tied Cordova, who was then in a Colorado prison for child molestation, to the long-unsolved Bullock case.

His death is the second of a Death Row inmate in eight days at a prison that has been ravaged by the coronavirus. More than 1,100 inmates have become infected since officials transferred sick inmates into the prison a month ago.

On June 24, Richard Stitely, 71, was found unresponsive in his cell and pronounced dead. A post-mortem test determined he had coronavirus. Stitely was convicted in Los Angeles County for the rape and murder of 47-year-old Carol Unger and had been on Death Row since 1992.

Cordova’s death will be investigated by the Marin County coroner.

Suzanne Espinosa Solis is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email:

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