Second inmate dies from COVID-19 at Terminal Island federal prison

A second inmate at the Terminal Island prison near the Port of Los Angeles has died from coronavirus complications, federal officials said today.

In all, 33 inmates and two staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 at the federal prison in San Pedro, which houses about 1,078 low-security male convicts.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons said the most recent inmate to die was 59-year-old Michael Fleming, who was serving a 20-year sentence for a conspiracy to sell methamphetamine in Wyoming.

Fleming originally tested positive for COVID-19 at the prison infirmary on April 8, and on April 11, staffers transferred him to a local hospital for treatment, officials said.

“While at the local hospital, his condition declined and he was placed on a ventilator on Monday, April 13, 2020,” the Federal Bureau of Prisons said in a statement. “On Sunday, April 19, 2020, Mr. Fleming, who had long-term, pre-existing medical conditions which the CDC lists as risk factors for developing more severe COVID-19 disease, was pronounced dead by hospital staff.”

The first Terminal Island inmate to die was 73-year-old Bradley James Ghilarducci, who was serving an 8-year sentence for possessing and distributing images of child sexual abuse, federal officials said. Ghilarducci was taken to a local hospital on April 12 after medical staff at Terminal Island evaluated him for passing out and general weakness, officials said.

Ghilarducci, “who had long-term, pre-existing medical conditions,” died the next day, prison officials said. Two days after his death, test results confirmed Ghilarducci had the coronavirus, the Bureau of Prisons said.

Nationwide, 495 federal inmates and 309 Bureau of Prisons employees have tested positive for COVID-19, authorities said. Twenty-two inmates have died.

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Jeremiah Dobruck is managing editor for the Long Beach Post. He began his journalism career in 2007 as an intern at Palos Verdes Peninsula News and has worked for The Forum Newsgroup in New York City, the Daily Pilot and the Press-Telegram.