Accused child rapist who faced ‘hundreds of charges’ found hanging in jail cell

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LINN COUNTY, OR – A 40-year-old woman who was accused of raping an underage male for a period of roughly five years was found dead inside her jail cell earlier this month. Jail officials say the cause of death was an apparent suicide.

Tina Ketcham was found hanging inside of her jail cell on March 11th at around 5:00 a.m. by staff at the Linn County Jail.

Deputies say that Ketcham was unresponsive when she was discovered, and they immediately contacted EMS to administer life-saving measures.

When paramedics arrived on the scene at around 5:18 a.m., Ketcham was pronounced dead.

Her death came just two days after she was arraigned for six counts of first-degree rape, two counts of first-degree sex abuse, one count of first-degree sodomy and six other sex crimes.

It’s reported that she plead not guilty on all charges at her March 9th arraignment.

From the outside looking in, the timeline between her arraignment and alleged suicide doesn’t seem that shocking. With numerous charges related to sexual offenses against a minor, that could lead to a lifetime in prison.

Considering the timespan of alleged abuse, Ketcham could have faced “hundreds of charges,” according to prosecutor Keith Stein.

Court documents allege that the abuse transpired from 2015 up to January 31st of 2020.

Prior to her death, Ketcham was being held under the alleged sex offenses with a bail amount set at $350,000.

Her council, Stephen Doyle, argued for her to have her bail set to $50,000, saying she posed no risk. The judge clearly though otherwise.

Doyle explained why he believed her bail to be excessive:

“My argument to get her out of there was based on three factors. One, she was not a flight risk. She wasn’t going anywhere. … The second argument was that she wasn’t a safety risk to anybody in the Albany community. She was going to be living up in the Portland-metro area.”

In this author’s opinion, there’s no such thing as excessive bail in cases related to child molestation or rape.

While there have been no details released regarding the victim’s age during the reported abuse, it was mentioned that Ketcham personally knew the victim.

Linn County Sheriff Jim Yon stated that Ketcham wasn’t believed to be a suicide risk, but also noted that she was in protective custody and housed by herself. Which, considering her charges, is pretty standard protocol for jails.

It’s unclear if Sheriff Yon was aware that Ketcham had attempted suicide on February 13th and February 15th, prior to her getting booked into the Linn County Jail on February 25th.

Ketcham’s first unsuccessful attempt on her life landed her a brief stay at Samaritan Albany General Hospital. Two days later, when she made another attempt on her life, she was admitted to St. Vincent Hospital in Portland.

Staff from the St. Vincent Hospital moved Ketcham to Cedar Hills Hospital, where she spent a week in the mental health unit. After that time, she was released from their observation.

Had Ketcham not died, she would’ve embarked upon a two-day jury trial scheduled for April 8th of this year. As of now, the Benton County Sheriff’s Office is working alongside the Linn County medical examiner on the investigation of Ketcham’s death.

I guess one could say sometimes the garbage “takes itself out.”

However, when that doesn’t happen, sometimes inmates in prison consider themselves the “garbage men.”

One of those self-appointed “garbage men” is Jonathan Watson. 

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Murdered officer's grave desecrated before headstone even placed

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We can all agree that child molesters are probably among the worst types of criminals. Adults who take advantage of our most vulnerable and defenseless are on a whole other level as far as depravity goes.

Showing that there is even honor among thieves, Jonathan Watson imposed his own brand of justice on two child molesters in a California prison.

CSP Corcoran.jpg
Corcoran State Prison, CA -Wikipedia photo

Please make no mistake, we are not advocating an “eye for an eye” mentality, because even the Bible tells us that this has been misinterpreted. However, with that being said, sometimes justice is a dish best served cold.

On Jan. 16, Watson, who is serving a life sentence for murder allegedly killed two convicted child molesters at the California Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison in the central California city of Corcoran. In a letter to the Mercury News, Watson confessed that he had done exactly that.

Ironically the incident occurred mere hours after Watson had warned a prison counselor that he might become violent. Watson told the counselor that the request was “urgent” and indicated that he would likely attack another inmate soon.  

The first attack occurred when Watson became angry that one of the sex offenders was watching a children’s television show. He attacked David Bobb, 48, with another inmates cane. Bobb died later that day.

Watson said that after the first attack, he was surprised that there was an apparent lack of response from the guards at the facility, so he singled out a second “child trafficker” and began to beat him, also with a cane. Apparently, guards were unaware of either attack until Watson himself led them to the scene, he wrote.

The second inmate, Graham De Luis-Conti, 62, died three days later from his injuries. Watson had only been transferred to that facility just one week prior.  

Dana Simas, a spokesperson for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation declined to comment on Watson’s account of the incident, saying that the investigation was ongoing.

Last month, prison officials had identified Watson as the attacker in the Jan. 16 killings, saying that he had “attacked two inmates with a weapon…causing multiple head wounds to both victims.” Both men were serving life sentences for convictions of aggravated sexual assault involving children under the age of 14, according to prison officials.

The incident remains under investigation, despite Watson’s apparent confession to both killings.

In the letter, Watson noted that he had his security classification lowered, from Level III to Level II, which prompted his transfer from a single-person cell to dorm-style living at the Corcoran facility. Watson was unhappy about the transfer and called it a “careless” mistake by the prison, also indicating that he left “quite a paper trail” protesting the move.

Six days after moving to Corcoran, Watson noted that a “child molester” moved into his pod. Neither Bobb or Luis-Conti are mentioned by name, but he said the man—referred to as “Molester#1—began watching PBS Kids in full view of other inmates, which Watson and others in the pod took as a taunt.

That night, Watson wrote:

“I could not sleep having not done what every instinct told me I should’ve done right then and there, so I packed all of my things because I knew one way or another the situation would be resolved the following day.”

In his discussion with the prison counselor the next day, Watson requested a transfer back to Level III “before I really (expletive) one of these dudes up” but that the counselor “scoffed and dismissed me.”

In the case of Watson, he gave clear indications that he might turn violent, which should have been a red flag to officials, according to Joshua Mason, a gang expert and legal consultant who was formerly incarcerated.

“This guy should have never been housed with those people, and that’s common laymen knowledge,” Mason said. “He told them, ‘I can’t be housed here,’ and that’s admirable. That’s a deviation from normal prison general population behavior…The culture is, if you’re uncomfortable, do something about it. The fact that he did seek out the administration shows he was just trying to do his time.”

Watson continued in his letter, saying that after warning the counselor he might turn violent, he returned to his pod:

“I was mulling it all over when along came Molester #1 and he put his TV right on PBS Kids again,” he wrote. “But this time, someone else said something to the effect of, ‘Is this guy really going to watch this right in front of us?’ and I recall saying, ‘I got this.’ And I picked up the cane and went to work on him.”

After killing Bobb, Watson said he left the pod to find a guard to turn himself in. While on the way to find the guard, he ran into the second “victim” and decided to kill him as well:

“As I got to the lower tier, I saw a known child trafficker, and I figured I’d just do everybody a favor,” Watson wrote. “In for a penny, in for a pound.”

Watson probably figured he was already in for life, had already killed one child molester so he had nothing to lose by killing a second. No death penalty in California so nothing to lose.

Unbelievably, neither of the killings drew any attention from prison staff, so Watson said he approached an officer to confess what he had done.

“I told him, ‘I’ve got some pretty bad news,’ to which he ironically replied, ‘You’re not going to hit me with that cane are you?’” Watson wrote. “So after jesting for a moment, knowing this might be the last decent moment that I have for a long time, I told him what I’d just done, which he also didn’t believe until he looked around the corner and saw the mess I’d left in the dorm area.”

Watson said that after he was detained for the killings, he gave prison officials a full confession, “detailing the situation as I just did for you.”

Watson readily admitted his guilt in both killings and said that he would plead guilty if taken to court. He also insinuated that he might kill again if he was housed with child molesters down the road.

The letter was written in response to a request made for a phone interview by Mercury News. Watson explained that he could only communicate by mail, because the prison has restricted his phone privileges and placed him in segregated housing in response to the killings.

“Being a lifer, I’m in a unique position where I sometimes have access to these people and I have so little to lose,” Watson wrote.

In a rare display of empathy by a prison inmate, especially one in for murder, Watson also added:

“And trust me, we get it, these people are every parents’ worst nightmare. These familys (sic) spend years carefully and articulately planning how to give their children every opportunity that they never had, and one monster comes along and changes that child’s trajectory forever.”

Child molesters being targeted in prison is not a new phenomenon. Even among prisoners, there is a code that children are off limits.

Robert Hood is a retired prison warden who spent three years in charge of the federal Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado. He notes that it is no secret that child molesters are routinely and frequently targeted in prison, however due to the high number of inmates with sex convictions, it is difficult to find places where they can be safe.

“With the division that occurs between white collar criminals, drug addicts, different gangs and all that, the one magnet that pulls them all together truly is the sex offender,” Hood told the Mercury News. “I’m not trying to sound like a bleeding heart here, but the chemistry we put people into in certain prison environments is not healthy for anyone—especially the person at the bottom of the totem pole, which is the sex offender.”

“An eye for an eye…” Sometimes it seems like maybe the right thing to do. 


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