EXCLUSIVE: No arrests made in 2016 prison killing, federal lawsuit filed

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Two years ago, Andrew Thurgood was sent to prison. He was sentenced in Clark County to serve three years for driving a stolen car.

After just a few months behind bars, Thurgood was murdered.

Today, there are still no suspects, no arrests and for Thurgood’s  father no closure. Now, the case is at the center of a federal lawsuit with serious claims against Nevada’s Department of Corrections.

“Andrew was born here in Las Vegas. He was your typical kid growing up,” said Marty, victim’s father. He asked 8 News Now not to use his last name.

The photos are glimpses of the past.

“These are just some of the pictures throughout his life,” Marty said.

Proof of Andrew Thurgood’s life. From childhood to adulthood, his father Marty has them all. Right to the very end.

“Last one, I have a picture of him at the funeral home,” he said. “This was after he was murdered at the funeral home. It’d be the last time I’d ever see him.”

He says his son was a typical Vegas kid.

“Proud to be his father. Yeah. He was charming.”

Who might have gone astray.

“He wasn’t a saint, but he didn’t deserve what happened to him.”

In 2015, Thurgood was sentenced to 36 months behind bars for driving a stolen car. He was sent to High Desert State Prison north of Las Vegas. Marty remembers visiting his son and one of the last conversations they had.

“When he first got into prison, there was several people beating up an older guy. He kind of stuck up for the guy and I think that’s how their conflict started,” Marty said.

He says his son was in trouble with the Aryan Warriors prison gang which Thurgood used to belong to. Thurgood allegedly refused to give up an old nickname. And soon, Marty believes the gang got retribution.

“He knew that they were after him,” Marty said.

8 News Now obtained Thurgood’s autopsy report.

Feb. 1, 2016 just before 3 in the afternoon, prison video shows Thurgood walking into a cell with two other inmates. Six minutes later, the door opens. The inmates drag out Thurgood’s body.

“They drop him on the ground, high five each other…” and tell the guards. An hour later, Thurgood was dead. He’d been stabbed and beaten.

He was 26 years old.

“The guards and this gang conspired to have him murdered,” Marty said. “To have him in a cell where he didn’t belong.”  

No one has been charged.

“It’s been over two years. They have the two assailants. They still haven’t been charged with murder. Haven’t been charged with anything.”

Marty’s claims are part of a federal lawsuit filed last month against Nevada’s Department of Corrections, two of its officers and two inmates.

Broadly, it alleges prison staff and two Aryan Warriors leaders conspired to lure Thurgood into an area he shouldn’t have been in and let him be murdered.

The lawsuit claims it’s part of an “unholy alliance” officers and inmates have at High Desert to keep relative peace and in some cases, impose justice.

“I think the public should know what’s going on in the prison system,” and according to Marty, that’s “corruption.”

8 News Now has been looking into this case since it was filed in April. Both inmates, Marty claims killed his son, were in Department of Corrections custody at the time. That’s no longer the case.

While one of the men is being held in Arizona. Earlier this month, the other one was released.
He’s now out of jail.

The Aryan Warriors are notorious within Nevada’s prison system. Ten years ago, 14 members were indicted as part of a federal racketeering case alleging corruption between the prison gang and the state’s prison system.

Nevada’s Department of Corrections has gone to great lengths to clean up its act. New leadership was put in place a few years ago, though observers say the organization is still decades behind other states in prison reform.

“It’s part of my life now,” Marty said.

As for the murder of Marty’s son, the Department of Corrections says it remains unsolved. The DOC also would not answer any further questions on the case except to say it’s still under investigation.

Marty demands justice.

“Is it worth it? Yeah. My son’s dead. I have nothing else to go on. People should know this.”

Late last week, the Department of Corrections finally responded to 8 News Now’s requests for a comment.

A spokesperson said staff changes have led to the delay in charges being filed with the attorney general’s office. The spokesperson was also unaware one of the inmates involved had been released.

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