News Releases

Pleasant Valley State Prison Inmate Death Being Investigated as a Homicide

COALINGA — California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) is releasing the name of a Pleasant Valley State Prison (PVSP) inmate whose death is being investigated as a homicide.

Hector Lara, a medium-security inmate, age 42, was found unresponsive in his cell by staff on Monday, Aug. 14 at approximately 11:45 p.m. Staff immediately responded with life-saving measures. Lara was transported to Correctional Treatment Center (CTC), where he was pronounced dead at 12:38 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 15. Notifications to Lara’s next of kin have been made. Lara was received by CDCR in 2014 from Los Angeles County to serve a six-year sentence for possession of a controlled substance.

Lara’s cellmate, Ernesto Cuellar, a medium-security inmate, age 36, has been identified as the suspect. He was received by CDCR from San Mateo County in April 2016, with a sentence of life with parole for attempted murder.

The Office of Inspector General (OIG), CDCR’s Division of Adult Institutions (DAI), and the Fresno County Sheriff’s Department were notified of the death.

PVSP houses minimum-, medium-, and max-security male inmates.  The prison opened in Fresno County in 1994, houses more than 2,900 inmates and employs approximately 1300 staff.


August 25, 2017   

CONTACT: Lt. Katherine Cruz

(559) 935-4972