News Releases

Condemned Inmate Richard Benson Dies

SAN QUENTIN – Condemned inmate Richard Allen Benson was found unresponsive in his cell at San Quentin State Prison on May 31 at 5:27 a.m. Correctional officers entered the cell, performed CPR and summoned an ambulance. Benson was pronounced deceased at 6:03 a.m. by a paramedic. Benson did not have a cellmate. The Marin County Sheriff’s Office Coroner Division will determine his cause of death; however, foul play is not suspected.

Benson, 74, was sentenced to death in Santa Barbara County (change of venue from San Luis Obispo County) on April 30, 1987, for four counts of first-degree murder for the 1986 deaths of Laura Camargo and her three children. His two sentences for lewd and lascivious acts on a child under 14 years old and of arson of an inhabited structure were stayed pending the carrying out of the death sentence.

Benson was admitted onto California’s death row on May 1, 1987.

There are currently 703 people on California’s death row. More information about capital punishment in California can be found here: https://www.cdcr.ca.gov/capital-punishment/

Contact: CDCR Press Office, (916) 445-4950 or opec@cdcr.ca.gov