A story for every victim

Jonathan Najera, 20

Jonathan Najera, a 20-year-old Latino, was strangled Tuesday, March 1, at the Men's Central Jail in the 400 block of Bauchet Street in Chinatown, according to Los Angeles County coroner's records.

Najera was killed sometime between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m. His death was not detected by deputies until morning, said Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Capt. Mike Parker, because “during checks of the cell…the victim appeared to be sleeping in his bunk.”

Two other inmates were in the cell, Parker said. The suspect was awaiting trial on a murder charge when the incident occurred.

“When you have a significant number of people in custody for murder and attempted murder, and then others with various other charges, people of like crimes are often housed together,” said Parker.

Najera's cellmate later confessed to killing him, officials said Friday. They have not released the suspect's name.

The victim was locked up at Men’s Central Jail on attempted murder charges, and his attacker was there on a murder charge, according to authorities.

Cells at the downtown Los Angeles jail are not under constant monitoring. The jail has long been criticized, even from within the department, as aging, understaffed and overcrowded.

-- Robert Faturechi

Read about developments in this case: Inmate killed weeks after judge asked that sheriff's officials review his safety

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