California prison inmate dies at New Folsom in suspected homicide, officials say

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Michael A. Jones/Sacramento Bee file

A homicide investigation is underway after an inmate was found unresponsive in his state prison cell Monday. California corrections officials said another inmate is suspected in the death.

Both involved inmates were serving life sentences at California State Prison, Sacramento, for murder convictions.

Prison staff just before 11:40 p.m. Sunday found Edward C. Bergman, 53, unresponsive in his cell, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said in a news release. Staff transported Bergman to an on-site medical facility, where he was pronounced dead at 12:08 a.m. Monday.

CDCR identified inmate Taylor Cervantes as the suspect in Bergman’s death. Cervantes, 27, has been moved to a restricted housing unit at the prison while the death is investigated.

“An inmate-manufactured weapon was recovered at the scene,” authorities wrote in the news release.

The investigative services unit for California State Prison, Sacramento is investigating, and the Sacramento County Coroner’s Office will determine the official cause of death, corrections officials said. Family has been notified, as well as the Office of the Inspector General.

Bergman was sentenced in May 1997 out of San Diego County to life without the possibility of parole on a conviction of first-degree murder, according to CDCR. Cervantes was sentenced in October 2021 out of Los Angeles County, also to life without parole, for second-degree murder.

It is at least the second death this year at California State Prison, Sacramento. A fight between two inmates in January led to one of them, identified as 42-year-old Joseph D. Horne, being pronounced dead in the facility’s treatment and triage area.

The prison, also known as New Folsom to distinguish it from nearby Folsom State Prison, houses more than 1,900 inmates.