News Releases

CDCR Investigating Centinela State Prison Inmate Death as a Homicide

IMPERIAL– Centinela State Prison (CEN) officials are investigating the death of an inmate as a homicide.

At around 10:15 a.m. on Friday, two inmates were observed battering a third inmate in Facility B recreation yard. Custody staff sounded the alarm, and discharged one direct impact round to quell the incident. As a result of the attack, officers began life-saving measures on the victim of the attack, who was 32 years of age. He was transported to an outside hospital, and was pronounced deceased at 1:27 p.m. CDCR is not releasing his name at this time, pending next-of-kin notification.

Investigators searched the yard, and recovered two inmate-manufactured weapons. They have also identified inmates Jose Ortega, 26, and Matthew Miller, 27, as suspects in the homicide.

Ortega was received by CDCR In July 2015 from San Bernardino County with a 20-year sentence for second-degree robbery as a second striker with a street gang act in commission of a violent felony enhancement, as well as criminal threat to cause great-bodily-injury.

Miller was received by CDCR in February 2014 from Los Angeles County with a life-with-parole sentence for second-degree murder and second-degree robbery.

They have been placed in the prison’s administrative segregation unit pending the completion of the investigation. The prison will be on modified program while the investigation is being conducted.

Investigators from the Imperial County Sheriff’s Office and the Imperial County District Attorney’s Office are assisting prison officials with the investigation. The Office of the Inspector General was notified.

Centinela State Prison is a medium- and maximum-security prison in Imperial County that houses about 3,500 inmates and employs approximately 1,300 people.


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