LANCASTER – A repeat felon serving a 20-year sentence was allegedly killed by his cell mate at the state prison in Lancaster, authorities said.
Robert Allen Garten Jr., 50, was fatally injured Friday, Nov. 9, at California State Prison – Los Angeles County, located at 44750 60th Street West, according to Lt. Richard Ochoa of the California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation. A possible motive for the killing was not disclosed.
Ochoa said guards conducting block checks about 8:45 p.m. found Garten “unresponsive in his cell” and immediately alerted medical staff, who had the unconscious, gravely injured inmate taken to a hospital. Garten died less than an hour later.
Garten’s cell mate, 32-year-old Stephen Anthony Marrufo, was identified as a suspect and placed in a segregation unit while an investigation is conducted by Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies, according to Ochoa.
Garten’s remains are awaiting autopsy.
Ochoa said Marrufo had bruises on a foot and one of his hands, as well as red blotches on the back of his neck.
Marrufo is serving a life-with-parole sentence for first-degree murder. He was incarcerated on Nov. 6, 2015. He had served time in prison before that conviction.
Garten was incarcerated on April 21, 2015. According to court records, he pleaded guilty to solicitation to commit murder and assault with a deadly weapon.