By SDCN Editor
San Diego, CA–The Medical Examiner’s Office conducted an autopsy Wednesday of an inmate who died after he was assaulted by another cellmate at a San Diego jail.
Derek Baker’s cause of death is pending laboratory results and further evaluation. The manner of death is homicide, officials said.
Patrick Ferncase, 28, was accused of assaulting Baker inside the cell, authorities said. They plan to work with the District Attorney’s office to file the appropriate charges against Ferncase.
On December 21, 2021, Ferncase was arrested by the Carlsbad police and booked into the Vista Detention Facility on the charge of attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, and elder abuse causing injury or death. Ferncase was later transferred to the San Diego Central Jail.
On January 17, Derek Baker, 56, was arrested by the San Diego police and booked into the same jail for a misdemeanor warrant of violation of a restraining order. On February 3, Baker was additionally charged with failure to register as a sex offender.
On February 17, Baker was sentenced for the violation of the restraining order. On March 4, he was housed in the same cell as Ferncase. Baker and Ferncase were the only people housed in the cell.
On March 12, at about 1 p.m., another incarcerated person alerted deputies that Baker was injured. Deputies went to the cell and found Baker injured as a result of an assault. Deputies and medical staff immediately provided treatment until medical personnel arrived and transported him by ambulance to a local area hospital. Baker’s prognosis was grave, and he was not expected to survive his injuries.
The homicide detectives responded to investigate due to the severity of Baker’s injuries. They continued their investigation and identified Ferncase as the person who assaulted Baker.
On March 22, the San Diego District Attorney’s Office dismissed Baker’s charges and he was released from custody. On March 29, at about 10:20 a.m., Baker was pronounced dead.