LANCASTER – California State Prison, Los Angeles County (LAC) officials are investigating the death of an inmate as a homicide.

On Friday, Nov. 9 at 8:43 p.m., LAC medical staff in the Administrative Segregation Unit viewed inmate Robert A. Garten Jr. unresponsive in his cell and immediately sounded an alarm. Medical staff attempted life-saving measures on Garten as an ambulance was summoned. Garten was transported to an outside hospital, where a doctor pronounced him dead at 9:33 p.m. The cause of death is pending the result of an autopsy.

The Office of the Inspector General was notified.

Responding custody staff removed Garten’s cellmate from the area, placing him in a temporary holding cell.

Garten, 50, was received by CDCR from Riverside County April 21, 2015 with a sentence of 20 years for soliciting another to commit/join in the commission of a murder (his second strike), assault with a deadly weapon, personal use of a dangerous or deadly weapon and inflicting great bodily injury.

Investigators at LAC have identified Garten’s cellmate, Stephen A. Marrufo, as the suspect. Marrufo, 32, was received by CDCR from Riverside County Nov. 6, 2015 with a sentence of life with the possibility of parole for first-degree murder and use of a dangerous or deadly weapon.

Marrufo was treated by LAC medical staff for bruises on his foot and hand, and redness on the back of his neck. He is being housed in a single-person cell in the prison’s Administrative Segregation Unit, pending the completion of the investigation by LAC and the Los Angeles County Sheriffs’ Office. Inmate movement is limited in the Administrative Segregation Unit as that investigation is taking place.

LAC provides long-term housing for male inmates classified as minimum-, medium- and maximum-security. LAC opened in 1993, houses approximately 3,100 inmates and employs more than 1,500 people.


Nov. 13,  2018


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