SAN DIEGO – Officials at Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility (RJD) are investigating the death of an inmate as a possible homicide.
Inmate Robert Charleston, 36, was found unresponsive in his cell just before 9:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 25. Staff immediately began lifesaving measures, and Charleston was transported to an outside hospital. He was pronounced dead at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 27.
Prison officials have named Charleston’s cellmate, Michael LaBrunda, 42, as a suspect. LaBrunda was received by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) on April 19, 2012, from Los Angeles County to serve a sentence of 50 years to life with the possibility of parole for one count each of first- and second-degree murder.
LaBrunda has been placed in the prison’s Administrative Segregation Unit as the incident is being investigated by RJD’s Investigative Services Unit. The San Diego County District Attorney’s Office and the San Diego County Coroner’s Office are assisting with the investigation. The Office of the Inspector General was notified.
Charleston was received by CDCR from Los Angeles County on Aug. 20, 2009, to serve a 14-year sentence for resisting/deterring an officer with threats/violence. He was expected to parole in January 2020.
The primary mission of RJD is to provide housing and supervision for approximately 3,000 minimum- to high-security inmates. Designed as a training and work-oriented facility, RJDCF provides vocational, academic and industrial programs. The institution opened in 1987 and employs 1,850 people.
CONTACT: Lt. Jennifer Davies