A 66-year-old inmate was found unresponsive in his cell at San Quentin State Prison early Wednesday, and state corrections officials said they are treating his death as a homicide.
John Sullivan had served half of his 10-year sentence from Placer County for failing to register as a sex offender, a second-strike.
He was found during a head count shortly after midnight and pronounced dead less than 40 minutes later.
Officials said they suspect his 28-year-old cellmate in the death. He has not been charged, but was serving a seven-year sentence from Los Angeles County for first-degree burglary and injury to a dependent adult causing death or great bodily injury.
The Marin County coroner did not immediately provide a cause of death, and corrections officials wouldn’t give more details, citing the investigation.
The Associated Press found in a 2015 analysis that male sex offenders were being killed at a rate double their percentage in the prison population.
San Quentin, north of San Fransico, is California’s oldest prison. It houses the state’s death row, but also general population inmates.