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State officials investigating inmate death as a homicide at Tehachapi prison

Posted: 8:09 PM, Feb 20, 2018
Updated: 2018-02-21 04:09:10Z

Officials with the California Correctional Institution (CCI) announced Tuesday they are are investigating the death of an inmate at a Tehachapi prison as a homicide.

Officials sent the following information explaining how they discovered the incident:

At 11:26 p.m., Friday, Feb. 16, staff conducting the institutional count on a Facility A housing unit discovered inmate Joshua Powers, 29, actively striking his cellmate Kevin Mansfield, 37, who was face down on the floor and appeared unconscious, according to officials.

Staff ordered Powers to stop his assault and used pepper spray when he ignored commands.
When Powers continued to strike Mansfield, staff made emergency entry into the cell and used batons and physical force to remove Powers from the cell and place him in restraints.

An ambulance was summoned and CCI medical responders attempted life-saving measures on Mansfield. When paramedics arrived, Mansfield was pronounced dead at 11:49 p.m. Powers continued to be aggressive with staff when removed from the cell.

He had injuries consistent with a fight and was escorted by wheelchair to the CCI medical clinic. He was transported to an outside medical facility for treatment of swelling around his eye and an injured hand.

The cell where the homicide occurred was secured until all evidence could be collected. After his injuries were treated, Powers was placed in administrative segregation. No staff members were injured in the incident. 

Officials said Mansfield was received into the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) custody from Riverside County with a life sentence with possibility of parole for second-degree murder by a second striker and second-degree robbery.

Powers has been identified as the suspect accord to CCI.

Powers was received into CDCR custody from Tuolumne County on July 26, 2017, with a 33-year sentence for kidnapping by a second striker, two counts of corporal injury resulting in traumatic condition by a second striker, use of a deadly weapon, two counts of false imprisonment with violence by a second striker, first-degree robbery by a second striker, first-degree burglary by a second striker and making criminal threats to cause great bodily injury by a second striker.

The Kern County Sheriff’s Office is assisting CCI officials in the investigation.