News Releases

Calipatria State Prison Officials Investigating Inmate Death as a Homicide

CALIPATRIA ― Calipatria State Prison (CAL) officials are investigating the death of Joseph Martinez, 21, as a homicide after two other inmates attacked him.

On Feb. 14, at about 3 p.m., correctional officers responded when inmates Robert A. Garcia and Brian Figueroa attacked Martinez on the Facility C general population maximum-security yard. Officers used chemical agents and one non-lethal 40mm round to quell the incident.

Martinez suffered numerous puncture wounds to his chest and back and was taken to the prison’s medical facility where life-saving measures were given. He was transported by ambulance to a hospital in the community. A doctor pronounced him deceased at 4:32 p.m.

Martinez had been admitted from Santa Barbara County on May 3, 2019, to serve a 24-year-to-life sentence for attempted first-degree murder with enhancements for use of a firearm, street gang activity and inflicting great bodily injury.

Officers recovered one inmate-made weapon.

The two suspects, Robert A. Garcia and Brian Figueroa, were re-housed in an Administrative Segregation Unit pending investigation into their involvement.

Garcia, 24, was admitted from Los Angeles County on Nov. 9, 2018, to serve 50 years to life with the possibility of parole for first-degree murder, intentional discharge of a firearm causing great bodily injury or death, and vehicle theft.

Figueroa, 26, was admitted on Feb. 25, 2014, from Los Angeles County to serve life with the possibility of parole for second-degree murder, his second strike.

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

Calipatria State Prison provides a variety of academic, self-help and vocational programs that are certified by the National Center for Construction Education and Research. The Imperial County institution houses 3,021 minimum- and maximum-security inmates and employs approximately 1,200 people. At 184 feet below sea level, Calipatria is at the lowest elevation of any prison in the Western Hemisphere.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                Contact: Lt. Ernesto Bustamante                                                                         (760) 348-6002