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Rashell Laverne Clarke Jr., 39

Rashell Laverne Clarke Jr., a 39-year-old black man, died Saturday, Feb. 6, after a fight in the California State Prison, 44750 60th St. West in Lancaster, according to Los Angeles County coroner’s records. 

Clarke, an inmate at the prison, got into a disagreement with his cellmate that morning and the two began to fight, said Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Lt. Joe Mendoza. Guards found him unresponsive in his cell at 10:48 a.m., according to a news release from the Department of Corrections.

During the fight, Clarke received some kind of trauma to his head, Mendoza said. He was pronounced dead at the scene at 11:26 a.m., according to coroner’s records. Autopsy results are not yet complete. 

Clarke's cellmate, Leron Leon Morris, a 33-year-old black man, was treated for injuries and returned to the custody of the state prison, Mendoza said.  The case is being investigated as a homicide, Mendoza said, and Morris is being questioned as a suspect.

Investigators don’t know what prompted the fight, Mendoza said.  

Clarke went to prison on Jan. 12, 2010, to serve a 22-year, 8-month sentence for a Shasta County conviction for abusing/endangering the health of a child, according to the Department of Corrections news release. Morris entered prison on Sept. 13, 2005, from Contra Costa County to serve a sentence of life without the possibility of parole for first-degree murder. 

Anyone with information on the case is asked to call the Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500. Those wishing to remain anonymous should call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.  

Contact the Homicide Report. Follow @latimeshomicide on Twitter.

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