Inmate Juan Trujillo Tragically Died In Suspected Homicide At Kern Valley State Prison In Delano

DELANO, CALIFORNIA (February 8, 2024) – An inmate identified as Juan Trujillo has tragically died at Kern Valley State Prison in Delano after being attacked by numerous inmates.

Kern County officials are saying that the incident took place around 10:30 a.m. on Monday. Juan Trujillo was in the recreational yard of the prison when he was allegedly attacked by eight inmates.

Jail staff saw a group of inmates attacking the victim with inmate manufactured weapons. Chemical agents were used in order to stop the attack.

Juan Trujillo was transferred to an outside medical facility where he was pronounced dead. A full investigation into the attack remains ongoing at this time.


Liability For Kern Valley State Prison Inmate Deaths


Prisons can be incredibly violent and dangerous places even in the best of circumstances.  According to Statista, “In 2019, 143 inmates of state and federal prisons in the United States were killed by homicide. This is a significant increase from 2008 levels, when 40 inmates were killed in state or federal prisons in the United States.” There are a number of different factors that can contribute to violence within the prison system.

  • Violence is more likely to take place at prisons that are overcrowded. Overcrowding can lead inmates to compete for resources.
  • Gang activity is another major source of violence within jails and prisons.
  • Inadequate staffing creates a foundation in which violence can be unchecked and unreported.
  • Violence is more likely to take place when inmates are suffering from untreated mental illnesses.

Jails have a legal obligation to protect inmates from reasonably foreseeable sources of harm. This includes protection from attacks at the hands of other inmates. When a jail shows deliberate indifference to the well-being of an inmate at risk, this could form the basis of a constitutional claim. Consider, for example, Pierson v. Hartley. In that case, jail staff allowed an inmate with a known violent history to roam an open spaced dormitory. He was also previously convicted for possessing a weapon while incarcerated. He attacked another inmate causing him to be seriously injured. Many steps should be taken after an inmate death.

  • Eye witnesses should be interviewed.
  • Medical records related to the attack should be preserved.
  • The history between the victim and the assailant(s) should be understood.
  • An experienced civil rights attorney should be contacted.

Inmate deaths are often highly preventable. This is particularly true when an inmate is killed by another inmate. Violence does not happen randomly. In many situations, victims will have a series of escalating altercations with their assailants. It is important for inmates and their family to understand that they do have rights. The family of any person that died in a state prison may be able to seek some measure of justice through a civil claim.


Investigating  Kern Valley State Prison Inmate Deaths

We at the Sehat Law Firm extend our deepest condolences to the family of Juan Trujillo. Any person that may have more information about what happened should reach out to investigators. It is our hope that steps are taken to prevent other tragedies like this.

Do you need more information about an inmate death at the Kern Valley State Prison? Our team of civil rights attorneys are here to answer any questions that you may have. We care deeply that inmates are aware of their rights and that those rights are being protected. Whether you just have legal questions or need any type of support we are here for you. You can reach out to us anytime at (949) 825-5200.


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