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Officials investigating North Kern State Prison inmate's death as possible homicide

Posted at 1:43 PM, Dec 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-16 16:43:57-05

KERN COUNTY, Calif. — Prison officials are investigating the death of a North Kern State Prison inmate who died two weeks after he was found unconscious in one of the prison's day-rooms.

According to California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, 49-year-old Ruben J. Barela, was pronounced dead at a hospital around 1:40 p.m on December 12. The cause of his death is pending the results of an autopsy but officials are investigating the death as a possible homicide, according to the CDCR.

On November 29, around 10:20 p.m., prison staff reportedly found 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.

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.