A group of prison guards comes under fire after apparently failing to notice that a self-proclaimed “Satanist” and convicted murderer beheaded and dissected his cellmate.
On March 9, 2019, according to the state, 31-year-old Jaime Osuna killed the body of his cellmate Luis Romero (44) with an improvised knife, beheaded him and dissected him.
The guards at Corcoran State Prison, where Osuna and Romero were detained, reported after their rounds that both men were still alive after the gruesome murder.
The guards’ death and subsequent failure to report this has led to investigations into why Romero was placed in a cell with Osuna, who had previously assaulted his cellmates.
One of The Los Angeles Times accused the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation of incompetence in its investigation and delay in disciplining the guards.
The reports of the murder do not provide any information about why the guards did not find the body.
According to a lawsuit from Romero’s family, there was a white sheet over the bar of the cell, suggesting that the guards had not searched the cell thoroughly.
The state Justice Department rejected the report’s findings, insisting that it “conducted a thorough and thorough investigation” from the start.
However, a lawyer for Romero’s family, Justin Sterling, said the department had a “veil of secrecy” to protect its officers from the consequences.
“The idea that my client had to sue to answer basic questions about her son’s death is daunting,” said Sterling.
Both men in the cell had histories of violent crime.
Romero had already spent 27 years in prison when he was taken to Osuna’s cell. He had been convicted of second degree murder after shooting and killing a woman in Compton as a teenager. The shooting was associated with gang activity.
Osuna was serving a life sentence for the torture and killing of Yvette Pena, 37, in a motel in Bakersfield, California in 2011. The man, whose face is covered in tattoos including a satanic pentagram, took on his role as the villain and mocked the family of his victim during his trial, gleefully telling reporters that he loved to torture people.
On the day of the murder, Osuna Romero cut into slices with a razor blade, cut out his eyes, and hacked off one of his fingers before removing part of his ribs and cutting out his lungs.
After disfiguring and dissecting Romero, he cut off Romero’s head and cut open the man’s face on either side of his mouth to make it look like the victim had a big smile on his face.
When the guards finally discovered the scene, they found Osuna in a necklace made from Romero’s body parts.
Osuna had never had a cellmate before Romero.
The man had attacked other inmates in the past. Sometime before Romero’s murder, Osuna found his way into another inmate’s cell, where he stabbed and slit the man’s face. The injuries resulted in 67 stitches. The victim did not want prison officials to have the photos of his injuries, fearing that Osuna would receive a copy to supplement his collection of “trophies” from his victims.
Osuna was transferred to the Salinas Valley State Prison’s psychiatric inpatient program and diagnosed with unspecified schizophrenia disorder, antisocial personality disorder, and borderline personality disorder.
He was found not to stand trial on Romero’s death.