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Santa Maria Northwest gang member stabbed to death in Calipatria prison attack

Santa Maria Northwest gang member stabbed to death in Calipatria prison attack

Calipatria State Prison

Calipatria State Prison is shown in an undated photo. A Santa Maria gang member serving a sentence for attempted murder was killed at the facility near the Mexican border Feb. 14.

A Santa Maria gang member sentenced for attempted murder in 2019 was reportedly killed Friday during an attack inside Calipatria State Prison, according to California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation officials. 

State prison officials said Joseph Martinez, 21, died Friday after he suffered from multiple stab wounds to the back and chest stemming from an attack by two other inmates, identified as Robert A. Garcia, 24, and Brian Figueroa, 26. 

The assault occurred at about 3 p.m. when Martinez was attacked by Garcia and Figueroa in the Facility C general population maximum security yard at Calipatria State Prison, which is located about 30 miles north of El Centro. 

Correctional officers responded to the incident with chemical agents and one nonlethal 40-millimeter round, according to the Department of Corrections. 

Martinez was taken to the prison's medical facility, where life-saving measures were applied, but was later pronounced dead at 4:32 p.m., prison officials said. 

One inmate-made weapon was recovered by correctional officers at the scene, according to the Department of Corrections. 

The Imperial County District Attorney’s Office is assisting in the investigation and the state Office of the Inspector General was notified.

Garcia and Figueroa were rehoused in an administrative segregation unit pending an investigation into their involvement in the incident, prison officials said. 

Both suspects were sent to Calipatria State Prison from Los Angeles County. 

Garcia was admitted into the prison Nov. 9, 2018, to serve a 50-years-to-life sentence for first-degree murder, intentional discharge of a firearm causing great bodily injury or death and vehicle theft.

Figueroa was admitted Feb. 25, 2014, to serve a life sentence for second-degree murder. 

Martinez entered Calipatria State Prison on May 3, 2019, to serve a 24-years-to-life sentence for attempted first-degree murder with and three enhancements, including criminal street gang activity, using a firearm during the commission of a crime and causing great bodily injury during a felony. 

An admitted Northwest gang member, Martinez was charged with attempted murder stemming from incidents in October and November 2015, according to court records. 

Additionally, Martinez was charged with assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury to another victim stemming from an incident in January 2016. He pleaded guilty to the charges April 3.

Martinez was 17 years old at the time of the crimes but charged as an adult. He petitioned to move his case back to Santa Maria Juvenile Court via Proposition 57, which changed the way juvenile offenders are prosecuted. 

However, his petition wasn't successful and Martinez subsequently received sentences of 24 years on the attempted murder charges and three years on the assault charge, which he was serving concurrently, court records show. 


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The following is taken from the Santa Maria Police Department's calls-for-service log and the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office daily arrest log. Those appearing as "arrested" are only suspected of the crime indicated but are presumed innocent.

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