Salinas Valley State Prison inmate’s death being investigated as homicide

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Salinas Valley State Prison in Soledad (Photo via CDCR)

SOLEDAD — California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation officials are investigating the death of an inmate at Salinas Valley State Prison (SVSP) in Soledad as a homicide.

On Aug. 3, at about 8:04 a.m., officers responded when inmate Angel Montes allegedly attacked another inmate, Peter Hernandez, in a housing unit dayroom with a weapon. Responding staff used chemical agents to stop the attack.

An ambulance was summoned while staff performed life-saving measures on 59-year-old Hernandez; however, he was pronounced dead at 8:22 a.m. No staff members or additional inmates were injured as a result of the incident.

Peter Hernandez
Angel Montes

Montes, 30, has been placed in segregated housing pending the investigation. 

“Officials have limited population movement on the yard to facilitate the investigation, which is being conducted by SVSP’s Investigative Services Unit, the Monterey County District Attorney’s Office and the Monterey County Coroner,” according to a CDCR news release on Aug. 8.

Hernandez was sentenced to prison on May 12, 1997, from Santa Clara County to serve a life-with-parole sentence for second-degree robbery as a third-striker and petty theft with a prior as a third-striker. While incarcerated, he was sentenced in Kings County on Nov. 1, 2021, to serve a two-year sentence for possession/manufacture of a deadly weapon by a prisoner.

Montes was sentenced to prison on Sept. 29, 2017, from Kings County to serve a life-with-parole sentence for attempted murder of a government official with use of a firearm, attempted first-degree murder with use of a firearm, resisting/deterring officer with threat/violence with use of a firearm, resisting/deterring officer with threat/violence, carjacking with use of a firearm, vehicle theft, attempted vehicle theft and vandalism.

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A staff member edited this provided article.