Los Angeles serial killer Ramon Escobar was recently charged with murder after allegedly killing his cellmate earlier this year, officials say.
Inmate Juan Villanueva, 53, was pronounced dead Feb. 24. Escobar, who was charged with first-degree murder Monday, was serving multiple life sentences at North Kern State Prison at the time.
Escobar had committed at least seven prior murders in California and Texas before the incident, which officials noted in their press release about his recent charge. The suspect had also been found guilty of seven counts of attempted second-degree murder.
"The criminal complaint further alleges seven special circumstance allegations based on Ramon Escobar’s seven prior murder convictions, five from Los Angeles County and two from Harris County, Texas," the Kern County District Attorney's Office said in a statement.
"He [is] additionally accused of committing an assault with malice by an inmate serving a life sentence on Juan Villanueva," the statement added.
Villanueva was discovered unresponsive during a welfare check of his cell on the morning of Feb. 24. An officer found him at 8:49 a.m., and despite lifesaving efforts, he was pronounced deceased less than fifteen minutes later.
The decedent had been sentenced for aggravated sexual assault of a child under 14 years old on Oct. 25, 2022. He was taken to the prison on February 2.
Escobar was in the cell at the time, and authorities believe that he strangled Villanueva to death.
Escobar is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday. No additional details about the incident are known at this time.