Cellmate charged with murdering Oakland longshoreman at Santa Rita Jail deemed incompetent

A Northern California man who was charged with murdering his cellmate at Santa Rita Jail has been deemed mentally incompetent to stand trial. 

Emil Cochran, 30, of Elk Grove, was charged in February with murdering 27-year-old Devin West, an Oakland longshoreman who was beaten to death on Nov. 15, 2021, inside A Pod, cell nine of the Santa Rita Jail. 

Cochran pleaded not guilty in January.

Currently, court proceedings are on hold as a judge ruled on April 15 that Cochran is mentally incompetent to stand trial.

A hearing is scheduled for April 29 to recommend a placement for him, according to the District Attorneys Office. 

In charging documents, sheriff's deputies noted that Cochran had "mounted" himself on West during some sort of fight. A motive has not been disclosed. 

The sheriff's report notes that an autopsy shows West's death was consistent with injuries he sustained during the altercation, although those injuries were not detailed. 

West's mother, Christy Miles, said she didn't know anyone had been charged with her son's death and that she was provided a death certificate showing her son died of "mechanical asphyxiation." 

Reached on Wednesday, she said she has not yet received the full autopsy. 

MORE: Months later, families have questions about the deaths of 2 men at Santa Rita Jail

Previously, Miles told West suffered from bipolarity and schizophrenia. Court records show he was accused of burglarizing a car. 

Court records also show he was supposed to be released three days after he was killed, after a two-month stay. When she called to check on him, jail officials said he had already been released. But it turned out, he was dead. 

According to the East Bay Times, Cochran has been in the jail since October, a month before the homicide, when he was arrested for a parole violation. 

Records also show that Cochran has a criminal history stemming back at least a decade from Solano County. Court records show he had been convicted of possessing a firearm, ammunition, battery and vandalism. 

Lisa Fernandez is a reporter for KTVU. Email Lisa at lisa.fernandez@fox.com or call her at 510-874-0139. Or follow her on Twitter @ljfernandez