L.A. serial killer charged with killing cellmate in Kern County prison

A Los Angeles serial killer who earlier this year was accused of killing his cellmate at a federal prison in Kern County has been formally charged with murder, prosecutors said.

Ramon Alberto Escobar, 52, is scheduled for arraignment Thursday on charges of first-degree murder and assault likely to produce great bodily injury by a prisoner serving a life term.

Escobar shared a cell at North Kern State Prison with Juan Villanueva, who was serving a life sentence for aggravated sexual assault of a child under 14, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Juan Villanueva (left) and Ramon Escobar (right) are shown in these undated photos provided by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Villanueva, 53, was found unresponsive in his cell on Feb. 24, and prosecutors allege he was strangled.

Escobar is already serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole for a series of brutal murders that took place across two states.

He admitted to killing his uncle and aunt in Texas before fleeing to California. In 2018, he bludgeoned five people to death with a baseball bat and injured several others.

The attacks occurred in the Los Angeles and Santa Monica areas, and many of the victims were homeless.

The El Salvador native had a long criminal history prior to the killing spree, including six felony convictions for burglary and illegal re-entry. He was deported from the country on six occasions, authorities said at the time.

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