News Releases

Condemned Inmate Richard Samayoa Dies of Natural Causes

SAN QUENTIN – Richard Gonzales Samayoa, who had been on California’s death row since 1988, was found unresponsive early this morning in his cell in the infirmary at San Quentin State Prison and pronounced deceased at 1:13 a.m. He was 69 years old. The Coroner Division of the Marin County Sheriff’s Office will determine his cause of death.

Samayoa was sentenced to death in San Diego County on June 28, 1988, for two counts of first-degree murder. He was convicted of the 1985 deaths of Nelia Silva and her two-year-old daughter Katherine. Samayoa was admitted onto death row at San Quentin State Prison on July 2, 1988.

As of Dec. 7, 2022, there are 675 people on California’s death row. Information about capital punishment can be found here:

Contact: CDCR Press Office, (916) 445-4950,

Richard Gonzales Samayoa pictured on August 24, 2018
Richard Samayoa