SANTA ANA (CNS) – A 44-year-old state prison inmate serving 50 years to life for fatally shooting a 19-year-old in Fullerton died today following an apparent conflict with his cellmate, who also died, state officials said.
Abraham Morales, 37, who was serving life in prison without the possibility of parole for a murder in Ventura County was found unresponsive in the cell he shared with Charles Thomas Ramirez, 44, during a routine security check at Kern Valley State Prison just before 6:15 a.m. Friday, according to the California Department of Corrections.
Ramirez was taken in for medical treatment, but died from his injuries and was pronounced dead at 6:55 a.m., according to the department.
Morales began serving his prison term on June 8, 2010, for first-degree murder in a fatal shooting.
Ramirez was sent to the prison in 2014 for killing Larry Ruiz on March 17, 2011.
As then-Orange County Superior Court Judge James Stotler was sentencing Ramirez he told the defendant, “You made a bad judgment call and, unfortunately, it was so bad there have to be consequences.”
Ramirez was convicted Dec. 5, 2013, of first-degree murder.
At his sentencing, the defendant’s mother, Charlene said in a letter to the judge that her son was a “good man… He’s smart, loyal and conscientious.”
Ramirez’s brother said the killing was a “horrible mistake… He’s not a violent person… He has a really big heart.”
Ramirez’s brother-in-law, who was a co-defendant in the case, testified against Ramirez in the trial.
On the night of the shooting, Luna went to a Narcotics Anonymous meeting and as he was returning home two men attempted to rob him of his cellphone, which Luna dropped as he fled.
When he got home he realized he dropped the phone and told Ramirez what happened.
Ramirez insisted on joining Luna in a search for the phone. As the two walked down an alley near the 110 block of West Williamson Avenue about 9:30 p.m., they spotted Ruiz, who was changing a tire on a minivan, according to the prosecutor in the case, Steve McGreevy.
Luna told his brother-in-law that Ruiz couldn’t have been one of the would-be robbers because his attackers were white, McGreevy said.
Ramirez, though, punched Ruiz and then shot him in the head, McGreevy said.
Ramirez warned Luna not to talk to police, but he later cooperated with investigators.