Inmate Faces Murder Charge After Strangulation, Deadly Beating of Man Awaiting Trial Inside Ventura Jail

A man accused of killing his cellmate who was awaiting trial inside a Ventura jail last month is now facing a murder charge, the Ventura County District Attorney said Wednesday.

Vu Cong Dao, 35, of Palmdale is accused of beating and strangling to death Michael Torres at the Pre-Trial Detention Facility located along Victoria Avenue, prosecutors said. The victim was found dead inside his cell on Oct. 25.

Torres, a 61-year-old Oxnard resident, was awaiting a November court appearance after being arrested on suspicion of violating a domestic violence order three weeks earlier.

Dao had been arrested on suspicion of committing a commercial burglary in Camarillo a week earlier, prosecutors said.

When deputies first found Torres unresponsive in his cell, they tried delivering emergency aid and called other staff to the scene, sheriff’s officials said. He was first found unresponsive about 6:15 p.m. and was pronounced dead by 6:55 p.m.

Four days after his body was found, officials said Torres had died of blunt force trauma and neck compression. At the time, they withheld the name of the suspect and his reason for being in custody — only saying he was the victim’s cellmate.

On Wednesday, the DA said Dao had been arrested on suspicion of killing Torres and is facing a murder charge.

Dao is currently being held on $2 million bail, according to prosecutors. He will be arraigned in court on Nov. 26.

No other details about the evidence allegedly linking Dao to the crime have been released by authorities.

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