Central California prison probes inmate death as homicide

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California officials say they are investigating the death of an inmate at a Central Valley prison as a homicide.

Kern Valley State Prison officials say employees saw 29-year-old inmate Matthew Johnson run into the cell of another inmate early Thursday.

They saw Johnson hitting 51-year-old Richard Ruse in the head with his fist.

Correctional officers used pepper spray to break up the assault. Ruse died at an outside hospital.

Both men were serving life sentences for murder.

The victim was previously sentenced to a 14-year term from San Diego County for drug and firearms crimes.

Johnson was serving a life sentence with the possibility of parole for fatally stabbing a homeless man in Riverside County.

The prison houses about 3,400 inmates north of Bakersfield.

Categories: California News