IONE, Calif. (KGET) — A Mule Creek State Prison inmate known as the “I-5 Strangler” who was convicted of killing seven women beginning in 1977 was found unresponsive in his cell and his death is being investigated as a homicide, prison officials said.
At about 12:40 a.m., a correctional officer found Roger Kibbe, 81, unresponsive on the floor of his cell with his cellmate standing over him, according to state correctional officials. He was taken to a prison health care facility, where he was pronounced dead at 1:23 a.m.
Kibbe was serving life without the possibility of parole after being found guilty of two counts of first-degree murder in 2009, plus a term of life with the possibility of parole for a 1991 murder, according to correctional officials.
The Associated Press said Kibbe’s 1991 conviction was for the strangulation death of a 17-year-old girl whose body was found in September 1987 west of South Lake Tahoe below Echo Summit. He was a suspect in six other killings, several in the Stockton and Sacramento areas along Interstate 5, the AP said, but it wasn’t until 2009 that he was connected to those killings.
With the new evidence, Kibbe pleaded guilty to six counts of murder after prosecutors agreed not to seek the death penalty, according to the AP.
Kibbe’s cellmate, Jason Budrow, 40, is serving a term of life without parole for a first-degree murder conviction in Riverside County in 2011, officials said.
Mule Creek State Prison is located southeast of Sacramento.