Cover-Up Alleged After Inmate Found in Pool of Blood in Prison Cell

A legal complaint has been filed in Nevada, accusing authorities of concealing the circumstances surrounding the death of a prisoner, Christian Doran Walker, 44, who was found lifeless and naked in a pool of blood in his prison cell. Walker was pronounced dead on April 15, 2023, after a prison worker discovered him groaning and curled up in a fetal position in his cell at the High Desert State Prison near Las Vegas. The lawsuit was filed by Walker’s mother in Clark County on Thursday.

James Urrutia, the attorney representing Walker’s mother, stated that Walker’s death was a murder, not a natural death as claimed by the authorities. He emphasized the irreplaceable loss of a child, as reported by a local CBS affiliate, KLAS. The lawsuit alleges that the investigation into Walker’s death was unsubstantiated and resulted in no disciplinary action against any correctional officers.

The lawsuit further claims that Walker’s death was being ignored, adding to a growing list of unusual inmate deaths in Nevada prisons. The defendants named in the lawsuit include the state Department of Corrections, its director, James Dzurenda, several prison administrators, medical staff, guards, and the Clark County coroner’s office. The corrections department and the county have yet to comment on the allegations.

Walker, who had spent most of his life in prison, was serving a 28-year to life sentence with parole for the second-degree murder of his 17-year-old girlfriend in 1997. Despite his criminal past, court documents indicate that he had been a model prisoner and was nearing the end of his sentence at the time of his death.

The events leading to Walker’s death began in early April 2023 when he reported experiencing symptoms of poisoning, including extreme paranoia and headaches, at the Southern Desert Correctional Center. After undergoing medical tests, he was transferred to the High Desert State Prison due to an undisclosed incident.

On April 13, 2023, Walker was allegedly severely beaten with batons and pepper-sprayed, causing him to lose consciousness and necessitating his transfer to a Las Vegas trauma hospital. Hospital records indicate that he was assaulted with unknown objects, resulting in injuries to his head, face, right arm, and right lower extremity. After receiving treatment, including 17 stitches and a splint for a fractured pinkie, Walker was discharged back into police custody.

The lawsuit alleges that Walker was assaulted again the following day. A fellow inmate discovered Walker in a fetal position under his bed, covered in blood and bruises. The following morning, a first responder was alerted to a cardiac arrest at the prison. Upon arrival, the first responder found prison staff attempting CPR on Walker, whose face was severely swollen and bruised. Despite efforts to revive him, Walker was declared dead at 7:18 a.m.

The lawsuit further alleges that despite photographic evidence of Walker’s battered body, the medical examiner concluded that his death was due to natural causes, specifically heart disease. However, a forensic pathologist who reviewed the autopsy and medical records at the request of Walker’s mother’s lawyer, disputed this conclusion, suggesting that blunt head trauma was the cause of death.

The lawsuit also accuses prison leadership of conspiring to alter Walker’s medical records and colluding with the Clark County coroner to ensure the cause of death was listed as ‘natural,’ not from blunt force trauma. The lawsuit suggests that this alleged cover-up is part of a longstanding pattern to hide the true cause of inmate deaths from the public.