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Sacramento DA / Media / Press Release Archives / 2017 Press Release Archives / 2.27.17: Prison Inmate Convicted for 1st-Degree Murder of Cellmate

Prison Inmate Convicted for 1st-Degree Murder of Cellmate

DATE:  February 27, 2017

CASE:  Joshua James Anderson (Case #14F02844)

PROSECUTOR:  Deputy District Attorney Dina Cataldo, Prison Crimes Unit

California State Prison (CSP) Sacramento inmate Joshua James Anderson was convicted by a jury for the first-degree murder of his cellmate, Thomas Parks. 

On February 8, 2014, Joshua Anderson strangled Thomas Parks to death with a scrap of bedsheet in their shared locked cell.  Sacramento County District Attorney investigators assigned to CSP Sacramento responded to the prison that night to interview Anderson.  Anderson initially denied killing Mr. Parks, stating he had no reason to kill him because he only had three years left on his prison term.  Anderson also claimed Mr. Parks committed suicide by self-inflicted ligature strangulation. 

When investigators noticed a bruise and fresh scratch on Anderson’s face, Anderson admitted to the murder.  DNA taken from Mr. Parks’ fingernail scrapings matched Anderson, and the wounds inflicted on Mr. Parks’ face were found to be inconsistent with Anderson’s suicide claim.

Anderson’s criminal history includes assault with a deadly weapon, two burglary convictions and unlawful sex with a minor. At the time of the killing, Anderson was serving a sentence for possession of controlled substance and resisting a peace officer. 

Anderson faces a maximum sentence of 31 years to life in prison.  Sentencing is set for April 21, 2017, at 1:30 p.m. in Department 11 before the Honorable Trena Burger-Plavan.


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