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Dead Lancaster inmate had cable around neck; cellmate is a suspect

May 29, 2012 | 12:37 pm

Lancaster

A man serving a life sentence for murder is suspected of killing his cellmate, who was found dead with a cable wrapped around his neck early Tuesday at a state prison in Lancaster, officials said.

The victim, a 36-year-old man whose name has not been released yet, was pronounced dead about 1:18 a.m. after being found unresponsive in his bunk, according to a news release from California State Prison, Los Angeles County.

His cellmate, Aaron Alvarez, 42, is suspected in the killing and was placed in isolation in the prison’s administrative segregation unit, officials said.

Alvarez is serving a life sentence for first-degree murder on a Kern County conviction.

The slain inmate had been in prison since 1999 and was serving a life sentence for sexual assault of a child in San Diego County, prison officials said. 

The death is being investigated by prison staff and detectives from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

It marks the second time in the last six months that an inmate at the Antelope Valley prison has been accused of killing a cellmate.

In December, guards found an inmate dead in his bunk after his cellmate passed them a note at breakfast alerting them to the body.

After investigators saw "something suspicious" on the body, the cellmate became the chief suspect.

Officials said Tuesday the December homicide is still under investigation.

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-- Kim Christensen

Photo: A view of the state prison in Lancaster. Credit: Los Angeles Times

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