Two guards allegedly recorded a California prisoner as “alive” during a safety check when he was actually being mutilated and beheaded by his cellmate, according to new prison watchdog reports obtained by the Los Angeles Times. Jaime Osuna made headlines in 2019 when he murdered his cellmate, Luis Romero, in what was called the most “heinous” killing recorded, according to King’s County officials. Osuna had cut out Romero’s eyes, an ear, and lungs, as well as beheaded him. The entire act was estimated to take hours, meaning that guards had failed their responsibilities in conducting regular, thorough safety checks, the inspector general’s office found. While the reason they failed to notice the brutal murder remains unclear, Romero’s family alleges in a new lawsuit that a white sheet was covering the cell bars. Additionally, the new IG report reveals that two other officers never reported the two guards for failing to “properly” conduct the prisoner count.
Osuna had a history of being violent with cellmates and had always been alone until officials assigned Romero, who had been transferred over from Mule Creek State Prison, to his cell. Two days after Romero’s arrival, Osuna killed him.