A condemned inmate at San Quentin State Prison was found unresponsive and pronounced dead early Thursday morning, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
Sam Brasure was discovered in his cell around 12:50 a.m. and pronounced dead at 1:17 a.m…Brasure, 49, had been on death row since 1998.
He was convicted of first-degree murder in the case of 20-year-old Anthony Guest in Ventura County. Prison officials say Brasure kidnapped and tortured the former child actor, then set him on fire.
In August 1998, Spencer Rawlin Brasure was convicted and sentenced to death for brutally torturing and killing a Redondo Beach man on Sept. 7, 1996. Brasure and his accomplice kidnapped 20-year-old Anthony Guest, tied him up, burned him with a propane torch, stapled wood to his head, forced him to eat broken glass, and shocked him repeatedly with a cattle prod before setting him on fire and leaving him to die in a remote Ventura County campsite near Gorman.
The coroner’s office testified that it took the victim several hours to die in agony. The judge described the murder as “savage, barbarous, merciless and cruel.” Evidence at trial also showed that Brasure had tried to have several witnesses in the case killed.
While sitting on death row at San Quentin State Prison, Brasure has found time to campaign against the death penalty. In 2011, he wrote a blog from prison complaining that he is a victim of a “political agenda”.
There are 731 individuals on death row in California, according to the state. Since 1978, 82 condemned inmates have died of natural causes, 27 have died by suicide and 15 have been executed — although two of those individuals were executed out of state.