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California death row prison inmate dies of natural causes at 69

State corrections officials say Richard Samayoa was 69 when he died early Wednesday morning in an infirmary cell at San Quentin State Prison.

SAN QUENTIN, Calif. — A prison inmate who spent more than 30 years on California's death row for beating to death a woman and her 2-year-old daughter during a burglary died early Wednesday of natural causes, state corrections officials said.

Richard Gonzales Samayoa, 69, was found unresponsive in his cell in the infirmary at San Quentin State Prison and was pronounced dead at 1:13 a.m., according to a statement from the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

The Marin County coroner will determine the exact cause of his death.

Samayoa was sentenced to death in San Diego County in mid-1988 for the December 1985 killings of Nelia Silva, 33, and her 2-year-old daughter, Katherine.

Prosecutors said Samayoa, a convicted felon who lived across the street from the victims, beat them to death with a wrench when they caught him burglarizing their home.

There are 675 people on death row in California. The state last carried out an execution in 2006.

Gov. Gavin Newsom has imposed a moratorium on executions while he is governor, and is moving to dismantle the United States' largest death row by moving all condemned inmates to other prisons.

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