UPDATE: The Kern County Sheriff’s Office said Tate died from blunt injuries. The case is being investigated as a homicide.
DELANO, Calif. (KGET) — The California Department of Corrections says an inmate’s death at North Kern State Prison in Delano is being investigated as a homicide.
CDCR officials said Lawrence Tate, 63, was found unresponsive in his cell at North Kern State Prison’s Facility B just after 11 p.m. on Jan. 1. Staff attempted to resuscitate him and was taken to a medical facility where he was pronounced dead the next morning.
Officials said they’ve identified Tate’s cellmate, Willie Clay, 30, as a suspect in the death.
CDCR officials did not provide details about what may happened before Tate was discovered unresponsive in his cell.
Tate had been imprisoned since November 2001 to serve a life sentence for second-degree murder.
Clay was received by CDCR from Riverside County in December to serve a 14-year sentence for attempted murder.
The prison’s Investigative Services Unit and the Kern County Coroner’s Office is investigating.