• Arturo Pacheco pleaded guilty to assaulting two inmates and filing false reports.
  • Pacheco was a correctional officer at a California state prison in Sacramento.
  • An inmate he assaulted died two days later from a pulmonary embolism.

A former California prison guard who boasted in text messages of abusing inmates and covering up his assaults has pleaded guilty to an attack that left a man dead, prosecutors announced Monday.

Arturo Pacheco, a former corrections officer at a state prison in Sacramento, admitted to a September 2016 attack in which he tripped a handcuffed inmate who struck their head and broke their jaw after slamming face first onto the concrete floor. The inmate died two days later in a hospital after suffering a pulmonary embolism, according to court documents.

After the incident, Pacheco and another guard conspired to cover up the incident. That other guard, Ashley Marie Aurich, pleaded guilty in January 2021 to falsifying records.

Investigators also uncovered a May 2016 incident in, which Pacheco used pepper spray on an inmate, unprovoked, bragging in text messages that the incident was "funny" and that getting away with abuse was "all about how u write ur report."

"Blood, broken glass, n just u n ur partners," Pacheco wrote, according to prosecutors. "Green light!"

In a statement, US Attorney Phillip A. Talbert welcomed the plea.

"Pacheco deprived inmates of their civil rights, abusing his position of authority as a correctional officer to harm them," Talbert said. "While Pacheco thought a 'green wall' or code of silence would protect him, he was wrong."

Under the plea deal, prosecutors have agreed to recommend a sentence of no more than 12 years behind bars, per The Sacramento Bee. He will be sentenced in October.

The California State Prison in Sacramento has been the subject of an FBI inquiry since the time of the inmate's death. Last year, a whistleblower died by suicide after alerting superiors to alleged widespread corruption — including the framing of inmates — at the facility, the Associated Press reported.

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