By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
By Charles Lam
I asked John McDonald, an OCSD spokesman, to explain the incident, given that the jail operates on classification system designed to prevent inmate-housing situations that would produce violence. "At that stage, our deputies probably didn't know about [James]," McDonald said. "A lot of times, deputies are busy down there [at the jail intake center]."
With his unsuspecting prey locked in a cell with him and deputies long gone, James—who proudly told this story in the MSNBC series—removed brand-new black laces from his white Converse shoes, sneaked up from behind, double-wrapped the laces around the man's neck and yanked as hard as he could. He didn't stop until the man's eyes rolled back and his body went limp.
"But our deputies got in there and managed to save that guy's life," added McDonald, who declined to identity the victim or describe his injuries except to say, "He was beaten up pretty bad."
A pleased James snorted on MSNBC, "That was the worst possible time he could have been sitting next to me. . . . He was a pervert, a creep . . . I had nothing left to lose."
Today, the hoodlum is serving a 95-years-to-life prison term.
And James' victim? He was guilty of nothing. The misdemeanor charge that brought him into the OC Jail that night was dropped due to lack of evidence.
This column appeared in print as "The Hard Cell: OC deputies locked an innocent man in a cell with a homicidal, white-supremacist gangster and walked away."