Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This


LAUSD Teacher Allegedly Smuggled Heroin to San Quentin Death Row Inmate

San Quentin. (Flickr Creative Commons/Jitze Couperus)
Stories like these are only possible with your help!
You have the power to keep local news strong for the coming months. Your financial support today keeps our reporters ready to meet the needs of our city. Thank you for investing in your community.

An LAUSD assistant teacher was caught smuggling heroin and cellphones to a San Quentin death row inmate who killed eight, according to the Marin County District Attorney's office. As the Marin Independent Journal reports, 47-year-old Teri Orina Nichols, of Bellflower, was arrested on Thursday after a prison officer spotted some trash near Nichols that wasn't consistent with what was supposed to be inside the prison.

Upon search, officers learned Nichols had carried a large beanie into the jail containing 18(!) cellphones, 18 cellphone chargers, two unidentifiable blue pills, and 3 ounces of heroin. The trash that the prison officer first noticed turned out to be bags from food Nichols reportedly smuggled to to the prisoner.

Nichols was visiting a man named Bruce Millsap, a 50-year-old man who was sentenced to death in 2000 after a string of robbery-murders during the mid 1990s, throughout L.A., Orange and San Bernardino County, according to City News Service. Millsap, along with an accomplice, murdered three different armored truck guards, and stole the cash, between 1995 and 1996. He also murdered a witness against him in an unrelated case, as well as several other individuals during robberies.

A strip search of Millsap following the contraband's discovery revealed that he wasn't carrying anything.

Support for LAist comes from

"We are evaluating how she was successful in circumventing our security measures," said prison Lt. Samuel Robinson, to the Independent Journal.

On Friday morning, the Marin County D.A. charged Nichols with a felony charge of smuggling heroin into prison, and a misdemeanor charge of smuggling a cellphone to an inmate. If convicted of the charges, Nichols faces up to four years in Marin County jail. Though she is out on bail at the moment, her arraignment is scheduled for Sept. 13.

Coincidentally, the L.A. Times reported last week that six death row inmates died of overdoses between 2010 and 2015. Statewide, 109 inmates died during the same period.