One of three California jail guards arrested on suspicion of murder in the death of an inmate is proclaiming his innocence and says he never touched the 31-year-old man.

Rafael Rodriguez tells The San Jose Mercury News (http://bayareane.ws/1FrweH4) that the guard uniform he wore the night authorities say he and two other officers entered inmate Michael Tyree's cell was clean, showing no signs that he made contact with the inmate.

The 27-year-old says the Santa Clara County sheriff's investigation is relying on hearsay from inmates and making things up.

He says his Thursday arrest on suspicion of murder in the death of Tyree is the first time he has been on the other side of the law.

Two other officers were also arrested and placed in protective custody in Alameda County's Santa Rita Jail as an added precaution.

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Information from: San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News, http://www.mercurynews.com