WARNING - GRAPHIC CONTENT: A convicted killer is accused of torturing and beheading his cellmate.
Jaime Osuna, 31, removed several body parts from his cellmate, Luis Romero, at California’s Corcoran State Prison, Assistant Kings County District Attorney Phil Esbenshade said on Friday.
Osuna was sentenced to life without parole after pleading guilty in 2017 to killing Yvette Pena, 37, at a motel in 2011, according to media reports at the time.
Romero also was serving a life term for a Los Angeles County slaying, but with the possibility of parole.
It’s alleged Osuna repeatedly cut Romero last month using what the prosecutor called a sharp metal object wrapped in string and attached to a handle.
The state corrections department said guards found Romero dead in his cell about 7.30am on March 9 at the prison, which houses more than 3300 inmates.
Romero bled to death from “multiple sharp force trauma injuries,” and his body was mutilated, according to an autopsy report released Friday.
It’s not clear how much happened while Romero, 44, was still alive or whether anyone heard the overnight assault, but “we do believe that the victim was conscious during at least a portion of the time,” Mr Esbenshade reportedly said in an email.
“This is the most gruesome case that I have seen in terms of heinousness in the slaying,” he added.
It’s alleged Osuna removed one of Romero’s eyes, a finger and a portion of his lung.
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation is conducting an internal investigation, spokeswoman Terry Thornton said. Officials wouldn’t provide more details on how prisoners are overseen overnight.
Osuna pleaded not guilty to murder and other charges at his first court appearance on Thursday.
He could face the death penalty if the slaying is deemed “especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel, manifesting exceptional depravity”.
Osuna is also charged with torture, mayhem and weapons possession.
The torture charge alleges that he acted “with the intent to cause cruel and extreme pain and suffering for the purpose of revenge, extortion, persuasion and for a sadistic purpose”.
Osuna has been transferred to a Stockton prison for inmates needing medical or mental health care, though officials wouldn’t say why, citing privacy laws.
The 31-year-old smiled, laughed and chatted about the Oakland Raiders football team as he was jailed in 2017 for the murder of Ms Pena, NBC KGET reported at the time.
He pleaded guilty to the murder as part of a plea deal to avoid the death penalty.
“It’s a rush, it’s an addiction, it’s a drug,” he told NBC KGET.
“I would rather do that (killing people) than do drugs. I would rather do that than have sex with most beautifulest (sic) woman in the world.”
With The Associated Press
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