A death row inmate at San Quentin State Prison died in custody this morning, a prison spokesman said.
Ralph Michael Yeoman, 66, who was sentenced to death for the 1988 murder of a Sacramento County woman, was found unresponsive in his cell this morning and subsequently pronounced dead at 5:24 a.m., according to Lt. Sam Robinson.
The cause of death remains unknown pending the results of an autopsy, Robinson said.
Yeoman was convicted of first-degree murder following the Feb. 13, 1988, killing, kidnap and robbery of 73-year-old Doris Horrell, a Citrus Heights resident, according to Robinson.
Her body was found later that evening in an open field west of Interstate Highway 5, near the former Arco Arena.
Yeoman was sentenced to death for the crime and had been on death row since July 23, 1990.
Since 1978 when California reinstated capital punishment, 63 condemned inmates have died from natural causes. Additionally, 23 have committed suicide, 13 have been executed in California, and one was executed in Missouri. Six died from other causes, and the cause of death is still pending for two condemned inmates.
Of the 725 male offenders on California’s death row, 706 are housed at San Quentin. Nineteen condemned inmates are either out to court, in medical facilities or in custody in other jurisdictions.
Laura Dudnick, Bay City News