Man killed in Riverside County jail by fellow inmate, sheriff says; 2022 death toll at 14

  • In US
  • 2022-09-30 23:29:07Z
  • By The Desert Sun

A man was killed at the county jail in Murrieta on Thursday, the 14th person to die in a Riverside County jail this year and the second victim of a suspected homicide at the same facility.

The Riverside County Sheriff's Department announced Friday that deputies responded to a jail cell at 4:20 p.m. on Thursday and found a man unresponsive. The deputies provided medical aid but 39-year-old Ulyses Munoz Ayala died.

Details about the death were not provided, but the department said that it suspects he was killed by another inmate, Erik Martinez, 30, during what was described as an altercation.

Kaushal Niroula was killed at the same facility, the Cois Byrd Detention Center, on Sept. 6. Niroula and Ayala are the only two of the 14 people who've died in county jails this year that the sheriff's department has publicly identified. In the other 12 cases, the sheriff also has not released a cause of death.

Seven of this year's 14 deaths have happened at the Murrieta jail, five since August. The county has five jails.

Prior to 2022, the county had not reported more than 12 deaths in its jail in a year since such data was made publicly available by the California Department of Justice in 2005.

The Desert Sun revealed that the department illegally failed to report to the state at least two deaths of inmates earlier this year. When it belatedly did so, it reported them as having been "sentenced," when a review of court records shows none of them had.

The ACLU, Starting Over Inc. and the families of several who have died this year protested earlier this week in front of the county jail in Riverside. They are demanding that state officials investigate the deaths that have happened this year, and that the county do more to prevent more jail deaths in the future.

According to court records, Ayala was scheduled to be sentenced in two separate assault cases Oct. 7.

Martinez was already on jail on a murder charge, accused in an Aug. 11, 2021, carjacking and killing in Jurupa Valley.

Reporting from City News Service contributed to this article.

Christopher Damien covers public safety and the criminal justice system. He can be reached at or follow him at @chris_a_damien.

This article originally appeared on Palm Springs Desert Sun: Man in Riverside County jail killed by fellow inmate, sheriff says


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