News Releases

Condemned inmate John Abel dies of unknown cause

SAN QUENTIN —Condemned inmate John Abel, 75, sentenced to California’s death row by an Orange County jury, was pronounced dead today at 10:25 a.m. at an outside hospital. His cause of death is unknown pending the results of an autopsy; however, foul play is not suspected.

Abel had been in prison since 1992 when he was admitted from Los Angeles County to serve 44 years and eight months for a string of armed robberies. He was also serving a seven-year sentence from Orange County in 1992 for second-degree robbery with the use of a firearm.

On Jan. 4, 1991, Armando Miller was shot at point-blank range at a Tustin bank and the suspect took $20,000 Miller had just withdrawn. The case had remained unsolved until 1995 when Abel was implicated by investigators. An Orange County jury sentenced Abel to death on Sept. 26, 1997, for first-degree murder during the commission of a robbery and lying in wait.

Since 1978, when California reinstated capital punishment, 82 condemned inmates have died from natural causes, 27 have committed suicide, 13 were executed in California, one was executed in Missouri, one was executed in Virginia, 14 have died from other causes and seven – including Abel – are pending a cause of death. There are 728 people on California’s death row.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 15, 2020 CONTACT: (916) 445-4950