WASCO – Wasco State Prison-Reception Center (WSP-RC) officials and the Kern County District Attorney’s Office announced a homicide investigation into an inmate death. The victim, Lorenzo C. Paynes, was found on June 19, at approximately 7:05 p.m., unresponsive in his assigned cell. Inmate Paynes was transported to an outside hospital for treatment. He was pronounced dead on July 16 at approximately 9:00 p.m. The Kern County Coroner’s Office will perform an autopsy to determine the official cause of death.

Paynes, 48, was received at WSP-RC from Kern County on May 27, 2011, as a parole violator returned to custody to serve a four-year sentence for battery on a non-prisoner. The victim also had a non-controlling offense of assault with a deadly weapon.

The suspect in this case is identified as a 26-year old inmate who was received at WSP-RC from Kern County in April 2011, with a four-year sentence for battery on a non-prisoner. The suspect also has a non-controlling offense for possession of a firearm by an ex-felon.

The Office of the Inspector General’s Bureau of Independent Review was notified.

WSP-RC’s primary mission is to provide short-term housing necessary to process, classify, and evaluate new inmates physically and mentally, and determine their security level, program requirements and appropriate institutional placement. WSP-RC was opened February 1991, houses approximately 5,800 inmates and employs approximately 1,700 people.

# # # #
July 20, 2011 

Contact: Lt. R. Mazuka
(661) 758-8400 ext. 5013