By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
If you thought incarceration would keep Gregory Haidl out of trouble, you were wrong. Orange County's most infamous gang-rape defendant has run afoul of the law again: Deputies recently shot Haidl with a high-voltage Taser gun after he allegedly caused a disturbance in the county jail's mental health ward.
Orange County Sheriff's Department officials said they could not comment on the December 4 incident.
"If any such incident occurred in the Orange County Jail, we wouldn't be able to speak about it because every inmate has rights to medical privacy," said sheriff's spokesman Jon Fleischman.
But one law enforcement source told the Weeklythat Haidl "was not complying with orders. He was very belligerent."
Multiple sources said the incident occurred between 5:30 and 6:30 p.m., and followed a decision by jail officials to revoke Haidl's commissary privileges. Jail rules allow inmates to keep small amounts of money on account to buy items like candy for themselves but no one else. Haidl allegedly violated jail rules by handing out items he purchased to curry favors with other inmates in the mental health ward. Among them: Alejandro Avila, who is in the cell next to Haidl's. Both are scheduled to go on trial in January--Haidl on charges he participated in the videotaped gang-rape of an unconscious 16-year-old girl, and Avila for the kidnapping, rape and murder of 5-year-old Samantha Runnion of Stanton in July 2002.
Sources say jailers repeatedly told Haidl to stop handing out the items to other inmates, but that he refused. According to one source, Haidl then "went nuts in his cell" and wrapped a bed sheet around his own neck. In order to restrain him, the source said, deputies entered the cell and fired a Taser at him.
The police action was "excessive force," Haidl attorney Peter Scalisi told Dave Lopez, a TV reporter for channels 2 and 9. Scalisi said Haidl was only trying to hide his face with the sheet.
Scalisi also denied that his client was giving candy to Avila, but said Haidl might have given a small piece of a Hershey bar to another inmate.