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Kern Valley inmate pleads guilty to murder of cellmate

Slide Court Report

A Kern Valley State Prison inmate has pleaded guilty to the Feb. 2 murder of his cellmate.

According to a news release from the Kern County District Attorney's Office, Steven Law pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and assault likely to result in great bodily injury by a life inmate in the death of Noah Rutherford III.

The news release said Rutherford was found in his cell with blood spattered around him on Nov. 29. Law told guards he beat Rutherford with the intent to kill, the release says.

Rutherford died Feb. 2.

The release said Law will receive a sentence of life without parole. However, sentencing is scheduled for July 15.

“Murder in state prison is taken very seriously," DA Cynthia Zimmer said in a statement. "Inmates housed in state prison have the right to be protected and free from assault. The Kern County District Attorney’s Office takes these crimes very seriously and will continue to fight vigorously for all victims of crime.”