HANFORD, Calif. (KGET) — A Kings County judge on Monday found “no compelling reason” for notorious Kern killer Jaime Osuna to possess crime scene photographs taken after his cellmate was slain at Corcoran State Prison.
In denying Osuna’s request, Judge Randy Edwards cited longstanding California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation policy prohibiting inmates from possessing crime scene photos due to security risks. Edwards also noted Osuna has previously been shown the photos and could request to view them again, but there’s no reason for him to have them in his cell.
The judge said there were 205 photos taken of the crime scene, and 67 autopsy photos. Almost all of them are “extremely graphic or violent,” he said.
Osuna’s attorney, Melina S. Benninghoff, said during the 10-minute hearing that she believes her client is entitled to the photos, but otherwise didn’t argue the point in court. She submitted motions regarding the matter to prosecutors and the state Attorney General’s office.
Prosecutor Louis Torch said it has been CDCR policy as long as he’s been practicing law to deny inmates from having crime scene photos because they could be studied to identify potential weak points in the prison, undermining a facility’s safety and security. The possession of such photos could potentially put staff or other inmates at risk, he argued.
Osuna, 32, is charged with murder and other crimes in the March 2019 slaying of his cellmate, Luis Romero, 44, whom he allegedly decapitated, as well as inflicting numerous other injuries. Prosecutors say they won’t make a decision on whether to seek the death penalty until a preliminary hearing is held.
Osuna was already serving a sentence of life without parole at the time of Romero’s death. He was convicted of torture and murder in the killing of Yvette Pena in Bakersfield in 2011.
The next hearing for Osuna is set for December, where psychiatrists will testify regarding their reports that Osuna is not competent to stand trial in Romero’s death.