News Releases

Kern Valley State Prison Officials Investigate the Death of an Inmate as a Homicide

DELANO – Officials at Kern Valley State Prison (KVSP) are investigating the May 1 death of 50-year-old inmate Robert Beltran as a homicide.

Last Friday at approximately 7:48 a.m., correctional officers responded when inmates Charles Garibay, Rafael Navarro and Guillermo Navarro began attacking Beltran with inmate-manufactured weapons as he exited his cell on Facility A. The officers verbally ordered them to stop their actions without compliance, necessitating the use of chemical agents, which quelled the assault.

Beltran suffered multiple stab wounds to his head, back, chest and abdomen. He was taken to the institution’s Triage and Treatment Area and was later transported to an outside hospital for treatment. He was pronounced deceased at 9:46 a.m. on May 1 at the hospital by the on-duty physician and his next of kin was notified.

Beltran had been in prison since Oct. 20, 1989. He was admitted from Los Angeles County and was serving life with the possibility of parole for attempted second-degree murder and kidnapping.

Garibay, 34, was received from Los Angeles County on July 17, 2007, to serve a 46-year sentence for assault with a semi-automatic firearm on a peace officer, attempted carjacking, and attempted second-degree murder. In 2017, he received a four-year in-prison felony conviction from Imperial County for possession/manufacture of a deadly weapon by a prisoner.

Rafael Navarro, 32, was received from Los Angeles County on March 13, 2008, with a 25-year sentence for second-degree armed robbery with gang enhancements. He also received two in-prison felony convictions: one two-year sentence from Kern County in 2013 for possession of a controlled substance in jail/prison and a four-year sentence from Kern County in 2019 for assault by a prisoner with a deadly weapon or force likely to produce great bodily injury.

Guillermo Navarro, 38, was received from Los Angeles County on Aug. 23, 2007, to serve a life-with-parole sentence for first-degree murder.

KVSP investigators recovered four inmate-manufactured weapons at the crime scene. KVSP officials placed the institution on a 24-hour threat assessment and limited inmate movement in order to thoroughly investigate this and prior serious incidents. KVSP’s Investigative Services Unit and the Kern County Sheriff’s Office are investigating this incident. The Office of the Inspector General was notified.

KVSP opened in 2005 and houses 3,538 minimum-, medium-, maximum- and high-security custody inmates. KVSP offers academic classes and vocational programs and employs approximately 1,800 people. For more information, visit


CONTACT:  LT. John Melvin (661) 721-6314