A homicide investigation is underway into the Kern County prison beating death of a man convicted of child molestation in Los Angeles County.
A 19-year-old inmate is suspected in the attack on Agustin Duran, which occurred around 7:20 p.m. last Saturday at Wasco State Prison, officials said.
Prison officials said correctional officers in a dayroom on Facility B responded when Andres Ayon allegedly began striking Duran, 66, in the face and upper body with his fists.
“An alarm was sounded and all inmates got down on the ground with the exception of Ayon, who continued to strike Duran,” according to a statement released by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. “Responding staff utilized a pepper spray grenade and Ayon complied and got down on the ground in a prone position. Staff placed Ayon in handcuffs and escorted him to a temporary holding cell. Duran was placed on a gurney and transported to the triage treatment area, where an ambulance was called.”
At 8:23 p.m., Duran was airlifted to an outside hospital. He was declared dead at 4:48 p.m. on Sunday.
Ayon was treated for minor injuries and placed in the prison’s Administrative Segregation Unit while the investigation is underway.
The primary mission of Wasco State Prison, which houses about 4,900 prisoners, is to provide short-term housing necessary to process, classify and evaluate new inmates physically and mentally to determine their security level, program requirements and appropriate institutional placement, according to the CDCR.
Ayon has been in CDCR custody since June 22, when he was brought to Wasco prison from Kern County, where he was sentenced to serve six years for second-degree robbery and use of a deadly weapon, according to Lt. Martin Herrera.
Duran, who had been placed in CDCR custody on July 2, was sentenced in Los Angeles County to 55 years to life behind bars, with the possibility of parole, for lewd and lascivious acts with a child under 14 years old, the lieutenant said.
Investigators from the Kern County District Attorney’s Office were assisting in the investigation. The Office of the Inspector General was notified.