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LA jail inmate killed after cutting in dinner line

The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES- An inmate was stomped to death after he cut in front of two gang members in a dinner line at the Men's Central Jail, officials said.

"They took upon themselves to teach (the victim) a lesson," Sheriff's Capt. Ray Peavy said Thursday. "This was a brutal crime."

The attackers spent 10 to 15 minutes beating and stomping the victim's head Wednesday while other inmates looked on, officials said. The men were among 30 inmates locked in a room unsupervised to eat dinner while deputies searched nearby cells for weapons.

Christian Perez, 18, and Heriberto Rodriguez, 24, were charged with murder, Undersheriff Larry Waldie said. Perez was behind bars for investigation of murder and Rodriguez for investigation of carjacking, he said.

The victim, whose name was not released pending notification of relatives, was a transient from Georgia who was accused of being a convict in possession of a gun and escaping from jails in Arizona and Nevada, Waldie said.

The jail has 6,000 inmates, Waldie said, adding, "It doesn't take long when you are dealing with murderers for an incident to occur."

The Sheriff's Department disciplined 22 deputies after five inmates were killed in the jail from October 2003 to April 2004.

Sheriff Lee Baca pledged last year to increase security and better segregate violent inmates. He said through a spokesman Thursday that the department will begin segregating gang members charged with murder from other prisoners.

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