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Napa State Hospital Unions Plan Memorial for Murdered Worker

Today, the second anniversary of the murder of Napa State Hospital psychiatric technician Donna Gross by a patient, a coalition of employee unions plans a memorial gathering at the entrance of Napa State and other state mental hospitals.

On Oct. 23, 2010, psychiatric technician Donna Gross was murdered at Napa State Hospital as she returned to her shift there after a work break.

Napa State patient the following August in Napa County Superior Court to a sentence of from 25 years to life in prison for strangling Gross, 52, stuffing peacock feces in her mouth and robbing her of pocket money and gum.

Two years later, the case that propelled widespread protests among state hospital workers around California, and legislation aimed at making their jobs safer, is rallying employees again.

Tuesday at 6 p.m., employee unions at state hospitals around California are planning to gather for a second annual memorial to Gross, whose killing became a rallying point for safety improvements at the facilities.

"New hospital-alarm systems are rolling out and grounds-patrol teams are taking root," reads an announcement for the event from the Safety Now Coalition of labor groups sponsoring Tuesday's event.

"Nevertheless, assaults in state hospitals continue and there is more work to be done," the announcement continues.

California Assembly member and psychiatric nurse Michael Allen, currently representing Napa, and Assembly member Mariko Yamada, likely Napa's next representative in the redistricted state body following November's election, are expected to attend the memorial at Napa State Tuesday, according to the announcement from the Safety Now Coalition.

Similar gatherings are planned at state mental hospitals in Atascadero, Costa Mesa, Coalinga, Norwalk, Patton and Porterville, organizers say.

Participants will lay flowers before Gross's photo and light candles in her honor and speakers will include friends, employees, faith leaders and politicians, according to the announcement.

Organized after Gross's murder and based in Oakland, the Safety Now Coalition represents unions including Service Employees International (SEIU), American Federation of State, County and Municipal Workers (AFSCME), Union of American Physicians and Dentists (UAPD), California Association of Psychiatric Technicians (CAPT) and other state Department of Mental Health (DMH) workers.

For more about the Donna Gross murder and state hospital safety, please see:

  • Report: Violence at Napa State is "a persistent problem"
  • Hundreds Rally for Safer Conditions at Napa State
  • Accused Napa State Hospital Killer Pleads Not Guilty
  • Napa State Hospital Workers Say They Fear for Their Lives
  • Video: Union Workers Protest at Napa State Hospital
  • Dept. of Mental Health Fined $100K for Killing at Napa State
  • State Hospital Safety Bill Headed for Legislative Hearing
  • Patient Held to Answer for Napa State Killing
  • Accused Napa State Killer Pleads Insanity
  • Accused Napa State Killer Pleads No Contest
  • Napa State Killer to Hear Sentence Today
  • Napa State Murderer Sentenced: 25 to Life

Click the "Keep me posted" button for automatic updates when we publish news about Napa State Hospital.

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