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Kern County Sheriff's Office rules North Kern State Prison inmate's death a homicide

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Posted at 3:15 PM, Dec 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-17 18:15:07-05

On Tuesday, the Kern County Sheriff's Office announced that the death of a North Kern State Prison inmate was a homicide.

On November 29, around 10:20 p.m., prison staff reportedly found 49-year-old Ruben J. Barela unconscious on the day-room of his housing unit with injuries to his face. Officials said Barela was then taken to a local hospital for urgent care. He died from his injuries on December 12th. According to the Kern County Sheriff's Office, he died as a result of a blunt head injury and the manner of death was ruled a homicide.

Following the incident, seven inmates were allegedly rehoused in the Administrative Segregation Unit pending further investigation by the prison’s Investigative Services Unit.

Barela was received by California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation from San Bernardino County on October 24 of 2019. He was sentenced to two years and eight months for evading or attempting to evade a peace officer while driving recklessly.