News Releases

Inmate Death at Kern Valley State Prison Being Investigated as a Homicide

DELANO – Officials at Kern Valley State Prison (KVSP) are investigating the death of an inmate as a homicide after he was found unresponsive in his cell.

Inmate Steven Brenneman, 40, was pronounced dead at 2:14 p.m. Preliminary reports indicate inmate Brenneman died from blunt force trauma to the head.

Prison officials have named inmate Brenneman’s cellmate, Inmate Walter Tamayo, 40, as a suspect in the case. Inmate Tamayo has been placed in Administrative Segregation pending an investigation by KVSP investigators, the Kern County Coroner and the Kern County District Attorney.

Inmate Brenneman, was serving an 18-year sentence from Riverside County for rape with force and violence and penetration with a foreign object.

Inmate Tamayo, is currently serving a life sentence from Los Angeles County for first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder.

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 more information about KVSP, visit CDCR’s website at

September 17, 2013
CONTACT: Jeff Smith
(661) 721-6314