LOS ANGELES – A man who was convicted in Los Angeles County of murder died Thursday after being found unresponsive in his state prison cell, and authorities have identified his cellmate as a suspect in the death.
Lawrence Tate, 63, was pronounced dead at a medical center shortly after 2 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 2, about three hours after he was found unresponsive in his cell in North Kern State Prison’s Facility B in Delano, according to a statement released by prison officials.
Tate had been in state prison since November 2001 and was serving a potential life prison term for second-degree murder, officials said.
His cellmate, Willie Clay, 30, was identified by North Kern State Prison officials as a suspect, according to the statement.
Clay had been transferred last month to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation from Riverside County, where he was sentenced to a 14-year prison term after being convicted of attempted murder as a second- strike defendant, according to prison officials.
Tate’s death is being investigated by the prison’s Investigative Services Unit and the Kern County Coroner’s Office.
Authorities did not release the cause of Tate’s death.