Prisoner dies in High Desert State Prison after being attacked by two other inmates

California Connection
Jose R. Castillo, 26 (left). Victor M. Zapien, 31 (right). (Photos courtesy of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation)

SUSANVILLE, Calif. (KTXL)  — A  prisoner at High Desert State Prison in Lassen County died Monday afternoon after being attacked by two other inmates, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Prison officials are investigating the death of Richard Prieto, 44, after prison staff witnessed two inmates attack Prieto in one of the prison yards at 2:29 p.m

Officials said 26-year-old Jose R. Castillo and 31-year-old Victor M. Zapien stabbed Prieto before officers fired a warning shot and used chemical agents to stop the attack.

Prison staff took Prieto to the prison’s medical facility for treatment before he died at 3:02 p.m. He had multiple puncture wounds to his chest, back, head and neck, according to the CDCR.

The CDCR says two metal inmate-made weapons were recovered after the deadly attack.

Officials said no staff members were injured.

Castillo and Zapien were placed in segregated housing while Prieto’s death is under investigation.

Prior to his death, Prieto was serving a 22-year sentence for attempted second-degree murder.

Castillo was serving six years for assault with a deadly weapon and sentenced to an additional six years for making and possessing a deadly weapon. Zapien was serving a life sentence with the possibility of parole for first-degree murder.

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