San Quentin Death Row Inmate From Contra Costa County Found Dead In Cell

SAN QUENTIN (CBS13) – A San Quentin death row inmate from Contra Costa County was found dead in his cell late Sunday evening.

Forty-one-year-old Justin Alan Helzer’s death at the state prison is being investigated as a suicide. He was single-celled.

Helzer was sentenced to death, along with his brother, Glenn Helzer, on March 11, 2005 by a Contra Costa County jury for killing five people in an extortion and murder scheme.

Since the reinstatement of California’s capital punishment in 1978, 58 inmates have died from natural causes, 22 have committed suicide, 13 have been executed in California — one was executed in Missouri — and six have died from other causes.

There are 733 offenders on death row in California.

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