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Donovan Prison Inmate Dies; Case Deemed Homicide

The entrance to the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility in San Diego Cou...

Photo by Angela Carone

Above: The entrance to the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility in San Diego County. The 700-acre state prison sits on a mesa close to the border between Mexico and San Diego.

A prison inmate who was grievously injured in a beating at Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility last spring died in a hospital this week, authorities reported Friday.

The death of Roberto Belton, 37, is being investigated as a homicide, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. No suspect in the slaying has been publicly identified.

On April 2, 2019, staffers at the Otay Mesa penitentiary found Belton unconscious and unresponsive in a maximum-security yard. He was transported to an outside hospital, where he was admitted for treatment of trauma "consistent with being the victim of battery," the state agency reported.

Belton succumbed to his injuries Thursday afternoon, according to CDCR public affairs.

Belton had been sentenced in Alameda County in May 2009 to a life term with the possibility of parole for robbery and the use of a firearm. He was a third-time offender under California's "three strikes" law.

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