2 California Inmate Deaths Investigated As Unrelated Homicides

SOLEDAD, Calif. (AP) — The weekend deaths of two inmates at a Northern California prison are being investigated as unrelated homicides, state authorities said Monday.

Officials consider 22-year-old Cedric Saunders’ cellmate at Salinas Valley State Prison a suspect in his death, the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said in a statement.

Prison officials found Saunders dead in his cell Saturday. His cellmate, Andy Loni, 45, has been rehoused in a segregation unit, the department said.

Saunders transferred to the facility in Soledad from Riverside County in July 2013 to serve a five-year sentence for second-degree robbery with a street gang enhancement. Loni entered the facility in September 1991 from Los Angeles County to serve life with the possibility of parole for attempted first-degree murder and assault with a firearm.

A few minutes after Saunders’ body was found, officials discovered 61-year-old David Bobst dead in his cell. He was the cell’s only occupant. Officials released no other information about Bobst’s slaying.

Bobst was transferred to the prison in November 1987 from Orange County to serve life with the possibility of parole for lewd and lascivious acts with a child under the age of 14, vehicle theft, and first- and second-degree burglary

The state prison in Monterey County holds about 3,500 minimum and maximum custody male inmates.

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