Two More Inmates in OC Jailhouse Murder Plead Guilty

Categories: Breaking News
Christopher Teague and Jeremy Dezso Culmann, two of nine inmates charged with beating to death a suspected child molester inside Theo Lacy Jail in Oct. 2006, have pleaded guilty to the crime, according to a press release issued by the Orange County district attorney's office today. As the Weekly reported on Jan. 12, a third inmate, Michael Garten, has also pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in the case.

Both Teague and Culmann allegedly struck the victim, John Chamberlain, who was awaiting trial for possession of child pornography, several times during an attack that lasted nearly an hour. They each received sentences of 15 years in state prison. Garten allegedly punched Chamberlain only once or twice, but he received a sentence of 20 years. According to prosecutor Ebrahim Baytieh, Garten received a longer sentence because he simultaneously pleaded guilty to an unrelated charge of extortion and because, unlike Teague and Culmann, he witnessed the entire beating from beginning to end and failed to protect Chamberlain.

More after the jump . . .
"The main distinction in our mind is Garten was present for everything that happened, from beginning to end," Baytieh told the Weekly. "He saw the victim deteriorate, and to us, it places more culpability on him than Teague and Culmann, who were involved in the beginning but could say that when they left, Chamberlain wasn't in bad shape." Baytieh added that while Garten told investigators and prosecutors that he lingered at the scene of the assault because he was trying to protect Chamberlain, other witnesses--and DNA evidence--contradicted him.

Both Teague and Culmann will have to serve at least 85 percent of their sentence before becoming eligible for parole, but like Garten, they will receive credit for the four years they've already served behind bars awaiting trial. "It depends on how they behave when they go to state prison, which is ironic because they are now being sentenced for getting in trouble while already behind bars," Baytieh said. "At the end of the day, we felt that for all three of these people, this was a fair disposition for them."

Baytieh added that with the exceptions of defendants Eric Miller, who has cooperated with prosecutors since first being interviewed, and Miguel Angel Guillen, there is no plea deal on the table for the remaining defendants. That includes both Jared Petrovich and Stephen Carlstrom, who previously spoke to the Weekly about how the assault on Chamberlain began when Deputy Kevin Taylor, who no longer works for the OC Sheriff's Department, told Petrovich that Chamberlain was a child molester and made it clear he deserved to be attacked. Taylor later told investigators that while the inmates beat Chamberlain to death, he and other deputies were watching television in a nearby guard tower.
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9 comments
Mary Bell82
Mary Bell82

I dont think they did anything wrong. if your already in the jail system and already doing time. let the criminals handle the criminals... i know that is not the christian way.. but the guy was a child molester... he's better off in there then out here.. and its his fault! its prison rules that the inmates will punish you based on your crime... if you raped, you will get raped.. its eye for eye kinda...

person that cares
person that cares

I hope the deputy is also being punished for this crime. he like the inmates is guilty. that deputy believes he is above the law. he is a murderer also.

latina
latina

I mean........... If you are a child molester! You DESERVE TO BE KILLED! NO QUESTIONS ASKED! and that Deputy should of NEVR GOTTEN FIRED! He didnt tell the inmates kill, him! The inmates HEAR WHAT THEY WANT TO HEAR! IF DEPUTY SAID I DIDNT SAY THAT, THAT MEANS HE DIDNT!!!!

Latina
Latina

crazy............

Dweezle.Di
Dweezle.Di

Error! the victim was AWAITING TRIAL for possession of child pornography! That does not mean he is a child molester... The FBI frequently sends child pornography and if he simply trashed it, (no trashing it does NOT remove it) and it was on his hard drive still they go to get him for possession of what they sent... But no one will know, He never received a fair trial, a Deputy acted as Judge and Jury, and enticed the other inmates to do his dirty work. and for your eye for an eye mentality... lets hope YOU never get falsely accused of a crime, and cannot make bail, maybe YOU will meet "Johnny" the community plunger dildo!

Dweezle.Di
Dweezle.Di

As I understand from prior reading on this case the deputy was cleared by an investigation conducted by his peers in Caronas' department. Basically, HE said he didn't do it so he was undoubtedly innocent. But I am not clear whether he voluntarily quit the department, he was dismissed, or encouraged to quit.

Dweezle.Di
Dweezle.Di

I am not sure if you did NOT read, or you are incapable of comprehending big words like "awaiting trial" and possession of child pornography. A person is not guilty until he/she is convicted in a trial.

Deputies as most people are human, when they are in fear that their stupid actions may put them in the same population they guard, they often lie! I believe this deputy was bred in the Carona corruption, he told inmates to "take care" of the "suspect", and they went overboard. It was a sad event.

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