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Tulare County Felon Slain at State Prison. Inmates from Kings County, Bay Area Suspected.

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An inmate at California’s High Desert State Prison was fatally stabbed in an attack by two other prisoners, corrections officials said Tuesday.

Christian Lepe, 24, was pronounced dead at 7:30 p.m. Monday at the prison near Susanville, the state said.

Lepe was sentenced in Tulare County to nine years for assault with a deadly weapon, assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury and an enhancement of inflicting great bodily injury involving domestic violence.

Prison staff observed inmate Ricardo Palmerin, 26, punch Lepe, “knocking him to the ground and hitting him in stabbing-like motions,” a department press release said. Another inmate, David Morales, 27, allegedly joined in.

Officers stopped the attack by firing two rubber bullets at Palmerin and recovered two inmate-made weapons, the release said.

Palmerin was sentenced in Kings County to 20 years for second-degree attempted murder and a street gang enhancement. He also was sentenced while imprisoned to an additional four years for possession or manufacture of a deadly weapon by a prisoner.

Morales was sentenced in San Francisco County to 24 years for assault with a semi-automatic firearm, evading a police officer and causing serious bodily injury and gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.

Palmerin and Morales were placed in segregated housing pending the investigation.

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