News Releases

Condemned Inmate Ronald Bell Dies

CORCORAN — Condemned inmate Ronald Bell, 69, who was on California’s death row from Contra Costa County, died of unknown causes at California State Prison-Corcoran on March 8.

Bell was found unresponsive in his cell at 6:30 p.m. Emergency lifesaving measures were started immediately; however, Bell was pronounced dead at 7:04 p.m.

Bell was sentenced to death in Contra Costa County on March 2, 1979, for the first-degree murder of Raymond Murphy during a robbery of Wolff’s Jewelry Store in Richmond on Feb. 2, 1978. Bell had been on California’s death row since June 6, 1984.

Since 1978, when California reinstated capital punishment, 79 condemned inmates have died from natural causes, 26 have committed suicide, 13 have been executed in California, one was executed in Missouri, one was executed in Virginia, 11 have died from other causes and four – including Bell – are pending a cause of death. There are currently 737 offenders on California’s death row.


March 11, 2019

CONTACT: (916) 445-4950