Murdered Prison Inmate May Have Been Castrated by Cellmate. Ouch

Categories: News
shannonpalmer.jpg
Shannon Palmer
An inmate at an Arizona prison was murdered on Friday, and there's a good chance he had his junk cut off in the process.

Inmate Shannon Palmer was found unresponsive in his cell at Lewis Prison in Buckeye Friday afternoon.

He was taken to an area hospital where he was pronounced dead about 2 p.m. Friday.

Palmer was serving a three-year bid for criminal damage out of Maricopa County.


Palmer was one of the Department of Corrections repeat customers. This latest Arizona prison term was Palmer's fourth.

Arizona Department of Corrections officials say Palmer was living in a two-man cell at the prison. It's believed that his cellmate, Jasper Rushing -- a convicted murderer -- was responsible for the killing, and KPHO is reporting that during the murder, Rushing castrated Palmer.

We spoke to DOC spokesman Bill Lamoreaux, who wouldn't confirm or deny that Palmer's balls were chopped off.

"I don't know. Whatever was in the [press] release is what we know," Lamoreaux tells New Times.

The release, to which Lamoreaux is referring, makes no mention of testicles or of Palmer's rumored lack of them. KPHO's information about the castration comes from an anonymous source "with knowledge of the incident."

DOC officials say the murder is under investigation.
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46 comments
MissAZ
MissAZ

Athena needs to grow up!!! blah, blah, blah.. was all i got out of you!!!  This man is in prison for killing my brother and i know him personaly. He is a very sick man .. yes! but.... the prison is to blame for this.. whatever thier budget is..., someone had to make the choice to stick this sick a$$ man(murderer)  in with someone serving a 3 yr sentence for criminal damage.. Ummm Hello!!!! Red flag right there!! My heart goes out to this family and the loss of Shannon. My family and I know exactly what they are feeling. We too lost someone over this psyco. Sadly, this could of been prevented from letting him hurt another human being... Its simple, the prison is to blame for this mans death!!!!!!!

Kkt_az
Kkt_az

If I ever questioned the professionalism of this publication, it was never as much as I am now. This was a mentally disturbed man who needed help, not incarceration. The vocabulary in this article, the lack of respect for Mr. Shannon, and the overall tone is appauling.

Cassbrewer
Cassbrewer

i know jasper real well.. for him to do this that guy must have said or told him he was a child molester or more.. people just do'nt get to that point with out a guy saying somthing

MizzAZ
MizzAZ

well Cass, if you know jasper as well as you say you do... then you know he is a murdering waste of life., from the moment his mother gave birth..... Thank God he will never get out after pulling this.. and he will be put to death himself in there ( of course after serving 20 more years there) LMFAO!!!! now that brings me much joy... That little bast*ard will never see the light of day again :D

Cassbrewer
Cassbrewer

Mr. Shannon, has been in and out of prison for years. he knows the ropes come on

Douglas Hotchkiss
Douglas Hotchkiss

new times is a piece of shit ouch? for a brutal murder that was horrific ? piss on the new times

Anon
Anon

your reply is immature. they just need to get rid of James King who adds nothing to the NT.

RalphGoldenmouth
RalphGoldenmouth

Fitting, as when I think of Arizona "Balls" is the first word that leaps to mind.

El Chupacabra
El Chupacabra

Well I have news for everyone here. Yes you can gnash your teeth over the death of an inmate - you can disparage the ADC for putting two men in a one man cell (though I note with a sense of irony that none of you offered to pay higher taxes to help make up the gross budget shortfall ADC has been left to contend with for 3 years now) - but the truth of the matter is this: Both none of you know or have even hinted at the issue which sparked this horriffic assault. So my suggestion is this: Shut your pie hole if you don't have a clue whats going on. Better to remain silent, and be thought a fool, than to open one's mouth and confirm it for all the world.

Athena
Athena

I applaud you in your ability to get straight to the heart of the matter, and offer you a Corona sometime, should you like to take me up on my offer. Enough said. You don't mince words and everyone else needs to shut their pie hole until they get it, as you obviously do.

Steatopygiaphile
Steatopygiaphile

The horrific assault would have never been sparked had ADC properly housed both inmates according to their respective security needs. A guy doing several years for "criminal damage" to a utility pole doesn't belong in a cell with a convicted murderer, pure and simple.

Athena
Athena

Yes, I agree with you. ADC should not house these two people together. I challenge you, though, in answering these questions: How many beds does ADC have this year? How many beds do they have? How much does each bed cost each year? How much did you pay in taxes this year? How many of these people are you willing to provide free housing, meals, security, and healthcare for? What is the least crime for which you believe a person should serve time? Who did you vote for? What are their views on these issues? When you know the answer to these questions, then you will have the basics of what it means to be a citizen in a free society, but that's only for one issue.

Cargodo1
Cargodo1

thank the ACLU for fighting to keep the mentally ill out of mental hospitals.having them in jail is just soooooooo much better for them...

Athena
Athena

And with their nobility of purpose, they nonetheless have not been able to make a dent in reducing how many mentally ill and retarded people are imprisoned. This is the shame of our age..turning a blind eye and locking away the unglamorous, otherwise known as the POOR, THE MENTALLY ILL, and MENTALLY RETARDED along with those who belong in prison. The lesson is, in this Great Recession, is that it costs too much, both in money and in souls.

Polmrtnz
Polmrtnz

I have tried to understand why people are so cruel and so quick to judge but I have come to realize that those people need prayer. Those are the sick people. The mentally ill people are innocent and they have to live with this terrible illness. You people that judge and think your better than everyone chose to live with ignorance. Well I feel sorry for you and I will pray for you because you will need it...MARK MY WORDS! God Bless Shannon Palmer and his family.

Alehound
Alehound

Damn, I'm sorry he's dead. What exactly did he criminal damage? A utility pole? Those things seem fairly sturdy to me. David Lockhart got him to plead to a felony 4? Remind me never to call him if I need an attorney. ADC = heartless shitheads.

Janejoey
Janejoey

I don't think it's appropriate for the journalist to call his genitals "junk". That seems disrespectful and more appropraite for Comedy Central. It's not professional.

FREAKin' ANNOYED
FREAKin' ANNOYED

OH, and just one more thing... Can you people show a little respect! It's probably out of your character and all, but seriously... I mean yah it's not your family and it sounds like great gossip to joke about, but this it REAL. It was someone's life, and now his family and friends are suffering from a completely unnecessary loss... Grow up and treat people with dignity and compassion!

FREAKin' ANNOYED
FREAKin' ANNOYED

This is so freakin' ridiculous!!! This should've NEVER happened. If it's a one man cell, shouldn't there just be ONE MAN!!!! Then to top it they mixed a murderer with a man that wasn't violent but had mental health issues... is this a joke?! I'm no rocket scienctist, but come on SERIOUSLY?! REALLY?!?!?!?!? It doesn't even make sense!!! (And let's not forget about his charge... climbing up a utility pole... 3 YEARS in jail for that? Man, maybe I shouldn't even breathe... I'd hate to get thrown in the slammer for disrupting the air!)

Athena
Athena

And are you willing to pay for inmates to have a cell to themselves? If so, please let your government know this, so they don't have to privatize Arizona's prisons. Or perhaps you could let them know how you disapprove of imprisoning so many of us. If Arizona's prisons are all privatized, then one thing is for sure, there will be enough one-man cells for us all, and spitting on the sidewalk will get us there. Then you and I will no longer be able to debate this issue, sitting in our cells alone, safe from each other.

FormerRepublican
FormerRepublican

well said. Arizona is already a prison state and tourists are staying away. Those who live abroad and come here for a visit are very much at risk with SB1070 and a host of misdemeanors turned into felonies in Arizona. The mass over-incarceration of Arizona's people is disgraceful!

Concerned Citizen
Concerned Citizen

Once again, James King is way off base. What editor passed approval on what is a horrific, monstrous death of a human being held in captivity in one of Arizona's Abu Ghraib prisons? Those from Arizona who were sent to set up Abu Ghraib and other foreign prisons and were there during the "torture" and abuse of 2004, have been sent back to America and Arizona to continue the same practices?? What message is Arizona sending to the world about civility in a "democracy"? King keeping on laughing, what goes around comes around.

Peggy Plews
Peggy Plews

This is the crime that Shannon was given three years in prison for, only to be tortured and murdered for after doing two. His "victim" was a utility pole. Shannon climbed it in a thunderstorm because God told him to. The real perpetrators of criminal damage to a human life were the Mesa police, for booking him on criminal charges instead of taking him to a hospital; the judge, Connie Contes for imposing the sentence of prison as if she was doing him a favor; the prosecutor, Clint Heiner for offering such a sweet plea deal in the first place, and the rest of us for being oblivious or indifferent to the fact that this shit happens to the mentally ill in our community all the time.

August 25, 2008. Arizona Republic:

"Police on Tuesday identified a man who climbed nearly 100 feet up a high-tension electrical tower during a thunderstorm Monday night. Police persuaded Shannon Palmer, 38, to climbed safely back to the ground after they were called about 6:20 p.m.

The Mesa Fire Department responded to reports of a man climbing the tower near 1800 East Covina Street as a storm was rolling through, Chief Mike Dunn said.

When they arrived Palmer appeared agitated, but after shutting off the power to the unit, a Technical Rescue Team, which specializes in high-angle rescue, coaxed him to a ladder truck bucket and he was brought down.

The man was returned without injury to the ground shortly after 8 p.m. with no explanation for why he had climbed the tower in the first place. The man was released to the custody of the Mesa Police Department. He was booked on suspicion of trespassing, criminal damage and disorderly conduct." -------------------------------------------------------------

Here's Shannon's sentencing record: http://www.courtminutes.marico...

I read it and wept.

Athena
Athena

Ms. Plews, You are obviously a woman of conscience and I salute you. I thank Mr. King for his usual flippant and irreverent journalism that provides us with the opportunity to consider the morality of our current society, and to wonder at the ability of one so stupid to nonetheless maintain a job in such an economy. As a person extremely well-versed in what happens to those unfortunate enough to have had the gavel raised against them in this savage society we call America (note, I myself have never been arrested or charged with a crime), I applaud your humanity for pointing out the injustice of the judge involved in this judgment and the rest of us for our oblivious, self-indulgent somnambulism. May God forgive us all. I extend my condolences for this family and respectfully ask for their forgiveness if I have contributed in any way to their suffering by voting into office those who have contributed to their loved one's suffering.

Autonomolotov
Autonomolotov

As sad of a fact as New Times is our "best paper", this certainly goes to show how childish they can be and the fact of the matter is, the New Times is not a legitimate media source and their writers are not reporters; so, similar to cops, politicians, and the prison system, they don't need accountability for what they say or do. So, some might say that we should simply go along with the lesser of two evils (the New Times vs. the AZ Republic), but I refuse to EVER take them as a serious media source until they clean up their act.

Lkdavis56
Lkdavis56

@ cryan: I am pretty sure this is a state run prison facility, and what good is blaming going to do? prosecution of the DOC and their many failures for so many inmates is where this should go. mocking anyone's untimely, brutal death is sick, take your frickin' meds and shut up.

Athena
Athena

I kindly ask you to consider, Lkdavis56, how poorly funded our prisons are, and how the definition of who deserves to be locked up, has expanded to include more and more people over the past decades. Prison is a way of winning elections, building legal careers, and expanding big business into the business of corrections in way too many cases. To simply criticize how state prisons fail to live up to their own policies is to stop short of becoming aware of what is really going on. Thank you.

FormerRepublican
FormerRepublican

Athena, Your comments are outstanding and much needed on this serious situation in Arizona with the over-incarceration of non-violent people, first offenders, the mentally ill and draconian long sentences. Keep on educating the public -- they are simply uninformed and most have the mentality of the writer -- a big joke. That is until something bad happens to him or a family member.

JULIE ACKLIN
JULIE ACKLIN

Why would newtimes mock this mans death.He was mentally ill and put in with a murderer.How would you feel if this was you family member?These people are human beings not animals.This isnt funny by any means..Shame on you this makes me sick and sad at the same time.This is promoting the shameful/ deaths of the mentally ill.Let this man rest in peace .and where were the guards while all this was happening?Turning there heads and making sure no one was watching.Stop the needless deaths of our mentally ill.When will it be stopped.Dont get mad and ruin property you to will be castarated.J.A ad the dept of corrections wont even see what happened how convenient.Or did they? sick civilization we have become.

Athena
Athena

Ms. Acklin, I quite respectfully ask if you have advanced beyond simply scapegoating ADC and asked more probing questions about how Arizona funds its prison to a level that allows basic human needs of the inmates to be met. When you have learned how little ADC has to pay to house its inmates, then I will pay more heed to your opinion about why my brother had to endure such inhumane conditions while he was imprisoned. It's easy to criticize when you have no real plan to improve what is and have a blissfully unaware state of mind that allows the simple mental masturbation of criticizing those charged with housing our fellow citizens. Add to that the cost of backing up your criticism with the willingness to pay for what you believe in. It's called taxes. You're just a little sleepy to this situation, I challenge you to wake up and follow the lamp of what is probably a good soul. Thank you.

Anon
Anon

Athena, You are way off base on your comment.

Cdhorsewoman
Cdhorsewoman

I do recognize, as I re-read my reply to Ms. Acklin, that my anger at Mr. King distorted my response to Ms. Acklin. I do apologize to Ms. Acklin and explain that I mainly want to emphasize that we cannot stop at merely criticizing the prisons without understanding them and without funding them, and without continuing to expand the defintion of crime.

Peggy Plews
Peggy Plews

Wow, New Times, this is a really disturbing article. Do your homework next time. Shannon Palmer was mentally disabled, in prison for petty bullshit instead of in a hospital, and never should have been housed with a sociopathic killer. The method his cellmate, Jasper Rushing used to end his life was intended to humiliate and torture him. You needn't help him inflict that same kind of suffering on his family by publishing your sarcastic musings. They'll be reading this article as they try to make sense of what happened, of course, as well as the mindless comments sure to follow. Survivors tend to linger over these things, especially when there's nothing else but a criminal record left as a public narrative of their loved one's life. This didn't just happen to Palmer, either - just about every prisoner and their family will feel the reverberations of stigma and shame your remarks have left and invited other to join in. I doubt anyone would be joking if this man wasn't already discounted as nothing more than a criminal who probably got what was coming to him.

Palmer was in prison because of behavior secondary to his mental illness, which was most likely not being properly treated there. He was so impaired that it took three competency exams and extensive psychiatric treatment to get him to where the judge could accept his guilty plea and sentence him.

According to family members of other prisoners at Lewis, Palmer and his cellmate were in a space built for only one man and his property; the less-dominant prisoner would have been relegated to the floor and had his property removed. What should have been only a 24-hour "transitional" housing assignment turned into nearly a month of them being crammed together.

Take a look at Palmer's in-prison infractions - gambling and disobeying orders. Now look at his cellie's record. No comparison. Talk about being set up to be murdered. I just got a letter from another ADC mentally ill prisoner who is terrified that the same thing will happen to him - and I can't assure him that it won't.

This murder was brutal, senseless, tragic, and in no way imaginable was it deserved. It was also avoidable, once again, if the ADC had been following their own policies. I could use your help doing real research into what's happening with the ADC to prevent more of these vulnerable prisoners from being murdered. At the very least, don't help cultivate a climate in our community which dehumanizes this man further and joins his killer in laughing about his death. Support his family in their grief, instead, and help the rest of us retain our own humanity by protecting the most vulnerable, most disenfranchised among us from the very real evil of our ignorance and indifference.

Athena
Athena

ADC follow its own policies? Look into how CRITICALLY understaffed, and I mean DANGEROUSLY UNDERSTAFFED ADC is and then spout off about how ADC does not follow its own policies. Then remember these brutal murders and suicides next time you are voting to not fund the prisons, or more poignantly, mental health programs and schools, which might help reduce the number of people who ultimately end up in trouble. And while you are at it, check and see how many mentally retarded people and severely schizophrenic and bipolar people, sexually abused, physically abused, and U.S. armed forces veterans with PTSD are in prison. We have caught them all successfully under the umbrella of drug addiction and labeled them criminals. A poll of Arizona voters this summer reveals that Arizonans are not willing to pay for prisons...but, oh, how we rush to be tough on crime! Wake up, America, and realize how we are expanding the definition of felonious crime to make it profitable for private prison encroachment and the election of officials we love to elect because they are tough on crime! Ask yourself why Corrections Corporation of America has donated over $60k to Governer Brewer's campaign for re-election...let's see, could it have anything to do with putting illegal immigrants in one of their very own prisons to make a profit? Perish the thought. Getting back to actual American citizens, then those folks who are stripped of their humanity are the very ones who can no longer vote against the politicians in this UNHOLY alliance! And wow, what a price we pay for the luxury of de-humanizing our brothers and sisters, many of whom are simply drug addicts, veterans, and otherwise traumatized people who could be saved and turned into taxpayers, and for much less money than what we have been paying to simply imprison and torture them. America, the land of the free? No, we have the bulk of the world's prison population, placing more people in prison than all other countries in the world! Still, we do not have fewer murders, rapes, and robberies than other countries, but we are too Puritanical in our rage to punish. Touting our supposedly Christian principles to forgive, we nonetheless are extremely ready to take two eyes for an eye. Hell, just chop off his balls too! There are people in prison who need to be in prison, and I want to make that perfectly clear. But, in this Great Recession, these poor dehumanized souls that could be salvaged, our brothers, sisters, sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, those that we nonetheless so love to objectify and then forget, have been locked away to pay the price while the rest of us are too cheap to pay the price of their humane treatment. Meanwhile, Big Business, the puppeteer of government, warns the sleeping populace of the dangers of Big Government. They are both one and the same! Either way, the rest of us sleep while those who pull the strings put on a great puppet show. Shame on us all, and shame on you, Mr. King, who sits back lazily and spins the facts into a sensationalistic and dehumanizing joke, you narcissistic son of a bitch! Find something worthy of a human being's time. I pray that you never have anything human happen to you like lose someone to suicide or be killed or assaulted. Then you might have to find something other than make light of it when it happens to the families of others to entertain an anesthetized populace. One thing's for sure, no one has to wonder if anyone chopped off your testicles. I challenge you to grow some kahonas and visit Lewis prison and see the conditions about which you so flippantly joke, and do something valuable with your journalistic aspirations.

Anon
Anon

This is too serious a situation with DOC / Arizona's Abu Ghraib to have someone like James King writing about it. New Times owners, for all you have done to promote fair justice, civil rights and the vulnerable, King just blew away all your work. It's time for him to be gone.. Nothing is a joke living in this reign of terror in Arizona.

Anon
Anon

Athena, Well said. Line for line filled with compelling information that everyone in Arizona needs to read. The CCA/Governor Brewer/Coughlin/Senseman ties are disgraceful! All of them should be given the boot!

CRyan
CRyan

I wonder how they will try to blame the private prison operators.

Athena
Athena

I will blame them for paying money to elect individuals who expand the definition of crime while touting the dangers of higher taxes that would pay to adequately fund state run facilities so that they may be humane to the citizens America has imprisoned. And I will blame them because the prisoners they agree to accept from the state on a contract basis are the less sick and less mentally ill, younger inmates, who are more profitable units than sicker, older inmates. We do not run churches for profit for the same reasons that it is simply evil to run prisons for profit. Wake up America, and remember that all have the right to basic human liberty and the pursuit of happiness...oh, but wait a minute, that could be bad for business. Never mind.

Johnny White Man
Johnny White Man

Don't know if he died before the "Bobett" or during. Maybe the killer was raped by the deceased or got tired of him spanking the monkey. Whatever is the case, its sick. Just my 2cents.

Peggy Plews
Peggy Plews

Actually, if yuo really care to know, Shannon didn't rape anyone, and probably didn't have room in the one-man cell he shared to masturbate if he wanted to. The killer was a younger, larger, stronger sociopath who slowly tortured Shannon to death for the fun of it. He died only after he was horribly violated and brutalized. His mother said his body was shredded and had evidence of multiple sites of blunt force trauma. He was supposed to be in a single cell, too, precisely so that he wouldn't be victimized.

Athena
Athena

Question: if ADC runs out of single cells, and its own policy is to put them in single cells....where should they be put?

Anon
Anon

Answer: It's time to release non-violent, first offenders, the ill and dying and the elderly who are no harm to society until the single cell standards are met.

Cozland
Cozland

Amazing, one thing for sure, DOC has their heads up their asses.

Athena
Athena

Cozland...I respectfully ask you to investigate how many more prison inmates there are each year, while each year the budget and number of employess is actually less. And all the while, no new beds are being built. Did you vote to decrease taxes to fund DOC? As a sibling of a person who went to prison three times, you become aware that the real enemy of this situation is our habit of turning a blind eye. It's easy to blame DOC and then not fund them to do the job with which they have been entrusted. As a matter of fact, I know employees of DOC who pray they are sued so that the state legislature will finally be forced to stop worrying so much about re-election and vote to fund them...but that isn't likely to happen, seeing how hell-bent that politicians are in privatizing the prisons....now there is an idea...stripping humans of their basic human rights and liberty to make a profit.

Anon
Anon

The officers are also at risk in the undermanned prisons. It's time to release the non-violent immediately. It's been a sick game in Arizona for far too long. The taxpayers cannot sustain this. The state of Arizona is broke. Look next door to California where Incarceration is #1, while Education is at the bottom, only Arizona thought it had it swept under the rug until the Kingman escapees strolled out of the private prison built for drunks -- housing over 140 murders! Did the private prison corporations sell the town on having "low risk" inmates? Wake up people, they're pitching one of your dusty desert towns. Don't sell your souls to these vultures.

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