The family of Michael Tyree - a mentally ill convict who was battered to death in a California prison - has been awarded $3.6 million (£2.8m) settlement. Tyree was serving time for theft and drug possession when he was found dead in his cell last year after suffering internal bleeding and major liver and spleen damage.
Inmates reported hearing him screaming for several minutes while three correctional officers were in the room with him. They have since been charged with his murder after the Santa Clara County sheriff admitted they were the only people with access to the cell the night he died.
The county agreed to settle a wrongful death and civil rights violation claim brought by the family of the 31-year-old. "The family would much rather have their brother than any amount of money. It's the most bittersweet money," attorney Paula Canny told the Chronicle after the settlement was confirmed. The money will be paid to Tyree's two sisters and his seven-year-old daughter.
Tyree's death came after a judge wanted to send him to a treatment centre to help combat his drug dependency, but after a bed was not available he was sent to a prison cell.
"They kind of pick on the mentally ill," a 23-year-old male inmate told the Mercury Press after the death. "They're not someone who is going to fight back or who has family that is going to press the issue."