A multi-convicted felon is suspected of fatally beating a fellow inmate at the Cois M. Byrd Detention Center in French Valley, near Murrieta, authorities said Friday.
Micky Rodney Payne, 33, of Perris, was arrested on suspicion of murder Thursday following a Riverside County Sheriff’s Department investigation at the facility.
Payne is suspected of killing 24-year-old Mark Anthony Spratt of Fontana.
According to sheriff’s Sgt. Ed Baeza, about 1:30 a.m. Thursday, correctional deputies were alerted to a “disturbance” in one of the cells and went to investigate, at which point they discovered Spratt “unresponsive with several injuries.”
Baeza said first aid was rendered at the scene, and the inmate was taken to a regional trauma center, where he died.
Central Homicide Unit detectives were summoned to question Spratt’s cellmate, Payne, culminating in his formal arrest inside the correctional facility, according to the sergeant.
A possible motive and further details regarding what might have transpired in the jail cell were not immediately disclosed.
According to court records, Payne has prior convictions for battery on a public safety official, resisting arrest, attempting to take a peace officer’s firearm, assault with a deadly weapon, spousal abuse and false imprisonment.
He had been booked into the Southwest Riverside County detention facility on Dec. 30 for apparent probation violations.
Jail records indicated that Spratt was arrested in Jurupa Valley on Tuesday on suspicion of identity theft and forgery. It was unclear whether prosecutors intended to file charges against him. He was being held in lieu of $10,000 bail.