News Releases

Kern Valley State Prison Officials Investigating Inmate Death as a Homicide

DELANO ― Kern Valley State Prison (KVSP) officials are investigating the death of Noah Rutherford, 50, as a homicide after he died from injuries he sustained in a Nov. 29, 2019, attack by his cellmate in KVSP’s Short-Term Restricted Housing Unit. He was transported to an outside hospital on that day, and succumbed to his injuries on Feb. 2 at 7:10 p.m.

Rutherford was admitted from Los Angeles County on Jan. 4, 2018, to serve a 30-year sentence for 18 counts of lewd or lascivious acts with a minor under 14 with force/violence/fear.

His cellmate at the time of the attack, Steven Law, has been identified as the suspect of the homicide. Law, 47, was received on March 20, 2018, from Tulare County to serve a sentence of life in prison with the possibility of parole for second-degree robbery, a second-strike offense, with personal use of a dangerous or deadly weapon. He received an additional six-year sentence, to be served consecutive to his initial sentence, for another count of second-degree robbery by a second striker.

Law has been placed in segregated housing at KVSP pending an investigation into his involvement.

KVSP’s Investigative Services Unit is investigating this incident and the Office of the Inspector General was notified. Investigators from the Kern County District Attorney’s Office are assisting in the investigation.

KVSP opened in 2005 and houses approximately 3,550, high-security and minimum- custody inmates. KVSP offers academic classes and vocational programs and employs approximately 1,750 people.


Contact: Lt. John Melvin (661) 731-5314