Four men were charged with murder in the 2013 fatal beating of their fellow inmate at a federal prison in Victorville, officials announced Tuesday.
The victim, a 38-year-old man only identified as “J.S.” in the indictment, died of blunt force trauma to the head following the attack on Oct. 1, 2013, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California.
The incident happened in the recreation yard of the Federal Correctional Institution, a medium-security prison, prosecutors said.
Aurelio Patino, 35, Christopher Ruiz, 44, and Jose Villegas, 37, were accused of using their hands and feet to hit the victim. Adilson Reyes, 37, directed the three to keep striking J.S. despite being informed that the victim was not breathing anymore, the U.S. Attorney’s Office alleged.
A federal grand jury on Aug. 29 indicted all four defendants on first-degree murder, according to the agency.
Patino, who most recently lived in Riverside, was serving a 16-month sentence for possession of a firearm as a felon at the time of the attack. He’s currently in a California state prison for a 100-month sentence, prosecutors said.
Reyes, also known as Shanky, last lived in Los Angeles and was serving 135 months in a cocaine distribution case, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
Ruiz, who most recently resided in San Diego, was previously convicted on racketeering and methamphetamine charges and was serving a 10-year sentence, according to prosecutors.
Villegas, who last lived in L.A., was sentenced to serve 15 years in a methamphetamine case, the U.S Attorney’s Office said.
The four were being detained in different prison while awaiting arraignment at a future date, the agency added.
If convicted of murder, each man would face a life sentence in federal prison without parole or the possibility of death penalty.