DELANO ― Kern Valley State Prison (KVSP) officials are investigating the death of an inmate as a homicide.
Around 6:30 a.m. Saturday, March 24, staff members were performing security checks on Facility C and found inmate Daniel Muniz, 33, unresponsive in his cell.
An alarm was sounded and responding staff immediately removed cellmate Toribio Mendoza, 36, from the cell and administered life-saving measures on Muniz. Muniz was transported to an outside hospital for treatment of serious head injuries. He was pronounced dead there at 10:51 p.m. Friday, June 1.
Muniz was received into California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) custody June 24, 2014, from Tulare County to serve 23 years, four months for discharging a firearm in an inhabited dwelling/vehicle/aircraft, voluntary manslaughter and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Mendoza was treated at KVSP for bruises, swelling and cuts consistent with a fight. Officials have named Mendoza as the suspect. He was immediately placed into KVSP’s Administrative Segregation Unit (ASU). He has been transferred to California Men’s Colony in San Luis Obispo, where he has been placed in the ASU as the investigation continues by KVSP and the Kern County District Attorney’s Office. The Office of the Inspector General was notified.
Mendoza was received by CDCR on Feb. 18, 2014, from Fresno County to serve 109 years, four months to life with the possibility of parole for false imprisonment, criminal threat to cause great bodily injury/death, possess/own firearm by a felon or addict, kidnapping, assault with a deadly weapon and second-degree attempted robbery.
KVSP opened in 2005 and houses 3,422 minimum-, medium-, maximum- and high-security custody inmates. KVSP offers academic classes and vocational programs and employs approximately 1,650 people.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 2, 2018
Contact: Lt. Michael Betzinger