REPORT: Death Row Inmate Found Dead In California Prison While Awaiting Execution

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Jesse Stiller Contributor
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A California inmate was reportedly found dead in his prison cell after spending three decades on death row awaiting his execution.

Sixty-one-year-old Jose Francisco Guerra was declared dead Monday afternoon after officers found him unresponsive in his San Quentin State Prison cell, according to the Orange County (OC) Register.

Guerra, who was a former construction worker, was sentenced to death in 1993 after he was convicted of the 1990 murder of Kathleen Powell in her Los Angeles home, the OC Register reported. Guerra was convicted of first-degree murder and attempted rape in the case.

An autopsy will be conducted to determine the cause of death, but officials have said there were no signs of foul play.

Guerra’s death was the third to occur in a span of three weeks, according to the OC Register, while two others died last month within days of each other. (RELATED: REPORT: 11 Men Charged Over Gang-Rape And Murder Of Flight Attendant After New Year’s Eve Party)

Royce Lyn Scott, who was on death row since 1997, died at age 62 at an outside hospital, the OC Register reported. His cause of death was not specified, but authorities also ruled out foul play.

A second inmate, James Odle Scott, died at age 71 at an outside hospital from natural causes, according to the OC Register. Scott has been on death row since 1983.

Some California inmates have been allowed to apply for early release due tot the coronavirus pandemic, which has also reportedly included 4,400 sex offenders that were sentenced for incest and indecent exposure, among other charges.