Man gets death penalty in 2013 murder of transgender cellmate at Kern Valley State Prison

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A man received the death penalty today after being convicted by a Kern County jury in the 2013 homicide of his transgender cellmate at Kern Valley State Prison.

The Kern County District Attorney’s Office has announced that on Monday, 48-year-old Miguel Crespo was convicted of first-degree murder with a special circumstance stemming from a prior murder conviction as well as for assault by a prisoner serving a life sentence. Today, the jury also returned a verdict for the death penalty. 

A sentencing in the case has been set for Dec. 5, according to the DA’s Office.

“We will continue to seek the death penalty on cases in which the killer has previously been convicted of murder and poses a significant risk of death or great bodily injury to staff and inmates in state prison in the future,” Zimmer said. 

On Oct. 31, 2013, Miguel Crespo alerted the guards at Kern Valley State Prison that his cellmate, Carmen Guerrero, was not moving. Guards responded to the cell and found Carmen Guerrero bound and gagged on the top bunk and unresponsive.

The DA’s Office said Crespo told the first guard who came to investigate that he was going to have to work tonight and that he killed Guerrero. Crespo said he was upset that he was housed with Guerrero, who was openly transgender, and that Crespo admitted killing Guerrero because of this. 

At the time of the murder, Crespo was serving a life sentence for a murder that occurred in Los Angeles County in 1993. In that case, Crespo shot into an occupied vehicle, striking and killing two occupants, killing one and severely injuring the other.

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