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Inmate serving DHS carjacking sentence stabbed to death in prison

CORCORAN, Calif. - An inmate serving a prison sentence in connection with a 2009 Desert Hot Springs carjacking and assault was stabbed to death by another inmate, according to state corrections officials.

Dennis Cruz, 28, died at the state prison in Corcoran after being chased into the prison's yard by another inmate, Jonathan Lewis, 35, and stabbed with "an inmate-made weapon,'' according to California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Lt. Edward Sanchez.

Cruz was pronounced dead in the prison's medical center at 11:10 a.m. Wednesday morning.

Sanchez said officers used pepper spray to subdue Lewis.

Cruz was serving two prison sentences, a six-year sentence for second- degree robbery in Los Angeles County and a six-year sentence for the Desert Hot Springs carjacking.

Cruz stole a Chevrolet Silverado in Desert Hot Springs but was caught by Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies near Compton in January 2009, three days after the carjacking. He pleaded guilty to both counts two months later, court records show.

Cruz had been serving both sentences in prison since March 24, 2009, according to Sanchez.

Lewis is serving a 16-year sentence for assault out of San Diego County, as well as a four-year assault by a prisoner with a deadly weapon sentence. He has been in prison since Feb. 9, 2006.

Cruz's death will be investigated by the prison's Investigative Services Unit.

The state prison in Corcoran houses 3,223 minimum, medium, maximum and high-security inmates, a department official said.


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