News Releases

Pleasant Valley State Prison Investigating Inmate Death as a Homicide

COALINGA – Pleasant Valley State Prison (PVSP) officials are investigating the death of an inmate as a homicide.

On Friday, April 5, 2019, at around 9:30 a.m., an officer noticed that inmate Jesus Castaneda declined to go to the recreational yard. The officer approached his cell window and saw Castaneda’s cellmate, Joseph Saucedo lying on the floor unresponsive. The officer activated the alarm and responding staff members arrived and immediately initiated cardiopulmonary resuscitation on Saucedo. He was then transported to the prison’s correctional treatment center where he was pronounced deceased at 10: 07 a.m.

Saucedo, 60, was received from San Joaquin County on Dec.15, 1997, to serve a 40-years-to-life sentence for lewd and lascivious acts with a child under 14, kidnapping, sodomy and aggravated assault of a child less than 14 years old, oral copulation of a child with force, and dissuading a victim or witness.

Castaneda, 38, has been placed in PVSP’s Administrative Segregation Unit while the incident is investigated. He was received into CDCR custody from Los Angeles County on Oct. 11, 2017, to serve a life-with-parole sentence for first-degree murder with a firearm and vehicle theft with a firearm. While in prison he received additional sentences for manufacturing a weapon and assault with a deadly weapon.

The Fresno County District Attorney’s Office is assisting in the investigation. The Office of the Inspector General was notified.

PVSP houses minimum-, medium-, and maximum-security male inmates. The prison opened in Fresno County in 1994, houses more than 3,200 inmates and employs approximately 1,300 people.


April 5, 2019

Contact: Lt. Jose Benavidez

(559) 935-4972