Kevin Taylor: The Missing Defendant in the Chamberlain Murder

Five former inmates will likely spend the rest of their lives in prison for the jailhouse killing, while the man who many say instigated it wasn't even charged

Thiagarajah added that the fact the jury refused to find his client, Carlstrom, and the other defendants guilty of first-degree murder, but rather of the lesser charge of second-degree murder, means nothing in terms of the time his client will spend behind bars. "Theoretically, he can get parole in 15 years," Thiagarajah said. "But when have you heard of a murderer getting parole in the state of California? It's a life sentence."

In his closing arguments a month ago, defense attorney Keith Davidson, who represented Petrovich, urged jurors to not scapegoat the defendants for a murder that would never have happened without the complicity of corrupt guards who encouraged the culture of fear and brutality behind bars. In an interview shortly after the verdict was read, he expressed dismay that jurors failed to see the bigger picture at work behind Chamberlain's death and argued that Taylor was just as guilty as his client in Chamberlain's death.

"Jared Petrovich has said from day one that while he was in custody, the deputies told him when to wake up, when to go to sleep and when to eat lunch. And they told him when to beat Chamberlain. There was a missing chair [at the defense table] in this case," he said. "And it belongs to Deputy Taylor."

Facing life in prison: Jared Petrovich enters the courtroom
Paul Bersebach/OC Register pool photo
Facing life in prison: Jared Petrovich enters the courtroom

This article appeared in print as "The Missing Defendant: Five men were found guilty of murder in the jailhouse killing of John Chamberlain. But the sheriff's deputy who some say instigated the fatal beating wasn't even charged."

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