AP NEWS

Cellmate a suspect in death of inmate at California prison

January 3, 2020 GMT

DELANO, Calif. (AP) — Authorities are investigating the death of an inmate at a central California prison as a possible homicide, officials said Thursday.

Lawrence Tate, 63, was found unresponsive late Wednesday inside his cell at North Kern State Prison, the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said in a statement.

He was taken to a hospital where he died early Thursday.

Investigators have identified Tate’s cellmate, Willie Clay, as a suspect, the statement said.

Prison officials and the Kern County Coroner’s Office are investigating.

Tate was serving life with the possibility of parole for second-degree murder.

Clay, 30, entered the facility on December 6, 2019 to serve a 14-year sentence for attempted murder.

North Kern State Prison houses more than 4,100 inmates.