DELANO – Kern Valley State Prison (KVSP) investigators are working with the Kern County Coroner and District Attorney’s Office to investigate the death of an inmate, which has been classified as a homicide.
Prison staff found an inmate, whose name is being withheld pending next-of-kin notification, unresponsive in his cell at 7:46 p.m. on Thursday, March 21, 2013. He was declared dead at 8:44 p.m. The cell and all its contents have been secured and processed as a crime scene.
The deceased inmate was serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole from Los Angeles County for first-degree murder. He was received by CDCR on July 1, 2004, and had been housed at KVSP since April 9, 2012.
The deceased inmate’s cellmate, Scott A. Mendez, has been identified as the suspect in the case. Mendez, 41, is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole from Fresno County for first-degree murder. He was received by CDCR on November 24, 1993, and has been housed at KVSP since September 2, 2010.
KVSP opened in 2005 and houses 3,782 minimum-, medium-, maximum-, and high-security custody inmates. KVSP offers academic classes and vocational programs and employs approximately 1,800 people.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 22, 2013
Contact: Lt. Jeff Smith