Man faces life in prison for strangling cellmate

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A 38-year-old man convicted of murder in the death of his cellmate at Wasco State Prison faces more than 50 years to life in prison at his sentencing Thursday.

A Kern County jury last month found Michael Ray Beardsley guilty of murder in the Feb. 7, 2017, killing of James Morris.

Prosecutors say Morris was found face down and unresponsive by correctional officers responding to calls of “man down.” Medical staff removed a noose from his neck.

A pathologist determined Morris’ cause of death to be strangulation by ligature.

Prosecutors say Beardsley wrote several letters to the mother of his child admitting to the killing.

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