The Latest | Southern California breaking news and trends
Crime & Justice

For the third time this month, a sex offender is apparently murdered in prison

California State Prison—Los Angeles County in Lancaster.
California State Prison—Los Angeles County in Lancaster.

An inmate was found dead in his cell Tuesday at California State Prison-Los Angeles County. The death is being treated as a homicide and the inmate's cellmate, Aaron Alvarez, 42, is a suspect. Alvarez, serving a life sentence for first degree murder, was placed in administrative segregation while the case is investigated by prison officials and the Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department. 

The victim's name has not been released, as his family has not yet been notified of his death. According to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, the deceased inmate had been in prison since November 30, 1999 for aggravated sexual assault of a child in San Diego County. 

Sex offenders are known targets of other inmates in prison. And this death is at least the third such apparent homicide of a sex offender in a California prison this month and at least the sixth this year.

According to CDCR's website, an inmate from Los Angeles County was killed at High Desert State Prison on May 26. That inmate, also unnamed, was serving a 137-year term for "numerous counts of sexual battery, kidnapping, rape, oral copulation with force and violence resulting in great bodily injury, and assault with a deadly weapon." The inmate's cellmate is a suspect in the death.

On May 2, inmate Gary T. Boyd was found unresponsive in his cell at Corcoran State Prison. Boyd was sent to prison from Santa Barbara County to serve a 72-year sentence for lewd and lascivious acts with a child under 14. Another inmate, Jack Edwin Denzer, of Los Angeles County, is suspected in the death.

Going back to April, California Men's Colony inmate Michael Walsh, whose convictions included sexual assault with force, was killed while at his job at one of the prison's cafeterias. 

In February, Richard Allen Leonard, convicted in Orange County of aggravated sexual assault on a child, was killed at Folsom State Prison. Also that month, Michael Benjamin Burch, convicted of lewd and lascivious acts with a child under 14 and other sex crimes, was killed at Corcoran State Prison. 

Prison officials were not immediately available for comment.