California prison inmate suspected of killing cellmate

A California inmate is suspected of killing his cellmate in a Kern County prison this week, authorities said.

Scott Gunter, 59, was found unresponsive in his cell at Wasco State Prison around 5 p.m. Tuesday and was pronounced dead 34 minutes later, after efforts to save his life failed, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said in a statement Wednesday.

Gunter’s cellmate, Eugene Stroud, 44, is a suspect in the homicide investigation, authorities said. The two men were cellmates and had been at the prison for less than a month.

Gunter arrived at the prison on Feb. 23 from San Diego County to serve a two-year sentence for not registering as a sex offender, according to authorities. Stroud arrived on Feb. 8 from Yolo County to serve a sentence of 25 years and eight months for two counts of corporal injury, and one count of making criminal threats to cause great bodily injury or death, prison officials said.

Stroud also has two prior felony convictions and received enhancements for inflicting great bodily injury involving domestic violence and personal use of a deadly weapon, authorities said.

The Office of the Inspector General was notified of the homicide investigation, which is being handled by the Kern County Sheriff’s Department and the prison’s investigative services unit, authorities said.

Wasco State Prison can house roughly 3,000 inmates who are newly admitted into the California prison system before they are placed into other institutions.

Inmate Michael Angel Iverson, 42, died in a fight at the same prison on March 9, authorities said.

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