Crime - Sacto 911

Inmate at a Folsom prison accused of killing cellmate, corrections officials say

The security entrance at California State Prison, Sacramento, is seen in this file photo. An inmate is suspected in the slaying of his cellmate this week.
The security entrance at California State Prison, Sacramento, is seen in this file photo. An inmate is suspected in the slaying of his cellmate this week. Bee file

A California State Prison, Sacramento, inmate was killed Thursday in what California Department of Corrections is investigating as a homicide.

Thomas Putney, 49, was found unresponsive in his cell in Folsom at 7:15 a.m., according to a news release from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Corrections officers transported Putney to the prison’s health building where he was pronounced dead at 7:45 a.m.

Officers have identified Kioki Snowden, Putney’s 23-year-old cellmate, as a suspect in the investigation. Snowden has since been placed in an isolated housing unit within the maximum security prison, officials said.

California Department of Corrections Lt. LeVance Quinn said Snowden was identified as a suspect because no one else had access to the cell at the time Putney was found dead. Inmates are fed in their cells, Quinn said, which means they do not leave their cells in the mornings unless they are assigned to work duty.

Officers will conclude their investigation within 30 days, Quinn said, unless the case is particularly complex.

Putney was serving a sentence of life without parole for the manufacturing, sale and possession of a weapon in Fresno County. Putney had two prior felony charges, which increased his sentence under California’s “three-strikes” law.

Snowden is also serving a sentence of life without parole for a Los Angeles County conviction of rape, kidnapping and second-degree robbery from a 2013 death of a 19-year-old Topanga Hills mall employee.

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