News

Man sentenced for killing Contra Costa County jail nurse

Judge hands down 12-year prison sentence to El Cerrito man for unprovoked 2010 attack

An El Cerrito man was sentenced to 12 years in prison Friday for the unprovoked killing of a 55-year-old nurse who was treating him while he was incarcerated in county jail in Martinez in 2010.

Aaron Nygaard, 38, received the sentence Friday after pleading guilty in Contra Costa County Superior Court to charges of voluntary manslaughter with use of a deadly weapon in connection with the death of Cynthia Palomata.

Nygaard was originally charged with murder for Palomata's killing but reached a plea agreement with the district attorney's office.

The deal was reached after psychiatrists told the court that they believed Nygaard fit the legal definition of insanity at the time of the killing, according to deputy district attorney Mary Knox.

Prosecutors said he suddenly attacked the victim while she was treating him for alcohol withdrawal in the jail on the afternoon of Oct. 25, 2010.

Hours after he was arrested for burglarizing an El Cerrito home, Nygaard faked a seizure in the hopes of being released from the holding cell where he was being held, authorities said.

While at the nursing station, after admitting that he had faked the seizure, Nygaard suddenly grabbed a lamp off of a desk and used it to strike Palomata in the head.

The victim, who had worked as a nurse in Bay Area hospitals for two decades and at the Martinez Detention Facility for five years, was taken to John Muir Medical Center where she died three days later.

— Bay City News Service

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by BT
a resident of San Ramon
on Apr 14, 2014 at 10:22 am

Hold on...

The deal was reached after psychiatrists told the court that they believed Nygaard fit the legal definition of insanity at the time of the killing, according to deputy district attorney Mary Knox.

So why then did this piece of human garbage get only 12 years for murder? He had the ability to make a decision to fake a seizure and then commit a violent act; yet he was declared insane at the time? I don't get it.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Frank
a resident of Blackhawk
on Apr 14, 2014 at 12:39 pm

Agreed BT!! Hopefully this pos will get take. Out by the prison population.


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