DELANO, Calif. (AP) — An inmate found injured weeks after he entered a California prison to serve a less than three-year sentence has now died, officials said Monday.

Ruben J. Barela, 49, entered North Kern State Prison in late October to serve a sentence of two years and eight months for evading police while driving recklessly in San Bernardino County.

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He was found unconscious and with injuries to his face in the day room of his housing unit on Nov. 29, about five weeks later.

He died Thursday at an area hospital, and investigators are treating his death as a possible homicide. Officials said the cause of his death is awaiting the results of an autopsy.

The Bakersfield-area prison houses more than 4,100 minimum- and medium-security inmates as well as newly arriving inmates for processing before they are sent to other prisons.


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