Oxygen Insider Exclusive!

Create a free profile to get unlimited access to exclusive videos, breaking news, sweepstakes, and more!

Sign Up for Free to View
Crime News Serial Killers

“I Killed Him”: Serial Killer Allegedly Murdered His Child Rapist Cellmate Due to Bad Hygiene

Ramon Escobar was ordered to stand trial in the suspected murder of Juan Villanueva, who was found dead in his cell at North Kern State Prison in California earlier this year.

By Dorian Geiger
Police handouts of Ramon Escobar and Juan Villanueva

A convicted California serial killer allegedly strangled his child rapist cellmate to death for his unsanitary habits, according to reports. 

Ramon Escobar, 52, was ordered to stand trial in the suspected murder of Juan Villanueva, 53, who was found dead in his cell at North Kern State Prison in Delano, California, earlier this year, Bakersfield television station KGET reported last week.

RELATED: Police Expand Probe Into Alleged Gilgo Beach Killer Rex Heuermann, Eyeing Potential Link to Two Other Victims

He’s been charged with first-degree murder and assault by a prisoner serving a life term, according to the outlet.

Escobar is serving multiple life sentences after pleading guilty to the 2018 murders of his aunt and uncle, as well as five homeless men that he bludgeoned to death during a subsequent crime spree in Southern California.  

How did Ramon Escobar say he killed Juan Villanueva?

On February 24, prison officials discovered Villanueva unresponsive in his cell shortly before 9 a.m., according to a California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation press release. He was rushed to the prison’s triage unit, where he was pronounced dead minutes later, officials said. According to court documents, Escobar, who immediately admitted to strangling Villanueva, allegedly killed his cellmate for his sloppy habits. 

"Hey, I'm sorry Jenkins," Escobar told a responding prison staffer who arrived in the pair's cell to check on Villanueva, court documents stated. "I killed him."

Juan Villanueva Arrived at the Prison Just Three Weeks Before His Death

Villanueva was sentenced to life in prison in October 2022 for the aggravated sexual assault of a minor under 14. He arrived at North Kern State Prison on February 2, just weeks before his death.

At the time of the suspected prison killing, Escobar was serving two life sentences without the possibility of parole, as well an additional 124-year sentence for seven slayings in California and Texas. Escobar arrived at the state facility in Delano in December. 

RELATED: After Indiana Teacher Goes Missing in Puerto Rico, a Body Is Found Floating in River

The bodies of Escobar's aunt and uncle, Dina and Rogelio Escobar, were never recovered. Following the pair of killings, Escobar fled to California where he murdered five homeless men in Los Angeles and Santa Monica over a violent two-week timeframe. 

Escobar’s victims were identified as Jorge Martinez, 63, Kelvin Williams, 59, Juan Antonio Ramirez, 51, Branden Ridout, 24, and youth sports coach Steven Cruze, 39, according to Fox Los Angeles. Ramirez died of complications related to his injuries in 2021. 

RELATED: Prime Suspect in Natalee Holloway's Disappearance To Share Info on Her Death in Plea Deal, Lawyer Says

Escobar avoided the death penalty through a plea deal, the New York Post reported.

North Kern State Prison also houses rapper Tory Lanez, who was convicted of shooting former fling and fellow rapper Megan Thee Stallion in the foot and sentenced in August to 10 years in prison. Music producer Phil Spector also was sentenced to life in prison at North Kern for the 2003 killing of actress and House of Blues hostess, Lana Clarkson. The famed producer had initially claimed Clarkson’s death was an accidental suicide.

Escobar is due back in court this week, at which point a trial date is expected to be set, according to KGET. It’s unclear if he’s retained legal representation to comment on his behalf.

Read more about:
Sponsored Stories
Recommended by Zergnet