A man who was convicted by a Kern County jury of the second-degree murder of his cellmate at Kern Valley State Prison was sentenced to 16 years to life in prison on Tuesday.
Travis Smoot was standing at the door of his prison cell on Dec. 1, 2015, when guards took down the white sheet that hung across the front to prevent a view of the inside, and saw Larry Thomas Hite lying dead on the floor, the Kern County District Attorney has said.
Hite’s hands had been hogtied, with sheets and both ears punctured with a pencil, previous reporting has said.
He died from strangulation, according to the DA’s Office.
Smoot reportedly told the guards that he killed Hite after Hite would not stop talking about a rape he had not been convicted for.
“I told him to stop or I would (expletive) kill him,” Smoot said. “Hite wouldn’t stop, so I tortured Hite all night and killed him around 4 (a.m.) this morning.”
Smoot was in prison after being convicted of repeated vehicle thefts and two assaults.
Hite had been incarcerated in 2015 for a connection to a 1986 murder.