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Former Alameda deputies sentenced to prison after years of inmate abuse

Two former Alameda County sheriff’s deputies were sentenced Wednesday to prison for their role in the “gassing” of inmates at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin in 2016.

Justin Linn of Tracy and Erik McDermott of Concord were each sentenced to four years and four months in prison for facilitating the “gassing,” which involves the throwing of bodily fluids such as feces and urine, on another person.

Prosecutors said Linn and McDermott’s position of authority facilitated the attacks by two inmates on at least five other inmates in Housing Unit 2.

“These former deputies directed, facilitated, enabled and committed sadistic and terrorizing acts against several men whose protection fell directly within the responsibility of their positions as correctional officers,” District Attorney Nancy O’Malley said in a statement.

“The conduct of these defendants violated the law and there was no rational explanation for their actions aside from abject cruelty and a disregard for the humanity of the inmates,” O’Malley added.

Linn and McDermott pleaded guilty to each of the 11 counts prosecutors charged them with, including 10 counts of assault by a public officer. One count was for dissuading a witness by threat or force.

The inmates who conducted the gassing at the direction of Linn and McDermott would receive special treatment from the then-deputies. Special treatment might include extra food, supplies and extra time outside their pod.

Deputy District Attorney Tim Wagstaffe said the incidents were “foul” and the former deputies’ behavior “egregious,” following his prosecution of the case.

In a similar but separate case, former sheriff’s deputies Sarah Krause and Stephen Sarcos each pleaded no contest in January 2020 to charges stemming from the gassing other inmates.

Krause pleaded no contest to felony assault under the color of authority and received five years of probation and 240 hours of community service.

Sarcos pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge and received three years of probation and 180 hours of community service.

Linn and McDermott are expected to surrender Aug. 25 at the East County Hall of Justice in Dublin.

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CONTACT: Alameda County District Attorney spokeswoman Angela Ruggiero (510) 919-0081

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