Kern County jury delivers death penalty verdict to man convicted of killing transgender cellmate

A Kern County jury has convicted and recommended a sentence of death for a man accused of killing his transgender cellmate in Kern Valley State Prison in 2013.

Miguel Crespo had been serving a life sentence for a murder that occurred in Los Angeles County in 1993 when the Kern County District Attorney’s Office says he killed Carmen Guerrero, leaving his cellmate bound and gagged in the top bunk of their cell before alerting guards.

The DA’s Office says Crespo admitted to killing Guerrero, who was openly transgender.

The jury convicted Crspo of first -degree murder with a special circumstance of a prior murder conviction and assault by a prisoner serving a life sentence on Monday. The same jury delivered the death penalty verdict on Thursday.

The case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Richard Choi.

DA Cynthia Zimmer said of the verdict, “We will continue to seek the death penalty on cases in which the killer has previously been convicted of murder and poses a significant risk of death or great bodily injury to staff and inmates in state prison in the future.”

The sentencing date is set for Dec. 5.