3 inmates deny murder charge in Chula Vista jail beating

Local

A file photo shows a jail cell. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

CHULA VISTA, Calif. (CNS) – Three men who allegedly took part in the fatal beating of a fellow jail inmate while they were in custody last fall at the South Bay Detention Facility in Chula Vista pleaded not guilty Friday to murder.

Lorenzo Ortiz, 25, Elijah Rivers, 25, and Edgar Rocha, 29, who are all currently serving state prison sentences, are accused along with two others in the beating death of 19-year-old Javier Solis Flores.

Flores, who was found inside his cell Sept. 9 “with obvious signs of trauma,” died two days later, according to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department. At the time, the sheriff’s department said the preliminary cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head.

Also charged with murder in the case is Marcos Vasquez, 30, who additionally faces another murder charge in connection with the 2018 shooting death of 26-year-old Onan Loaiza in National City, and Edson Acuna, 27, who was convicted of murder last year and sentenced to life without parole for the 2018 shooting of 21-year-old Navy man Curtis Adams on a San Diego freeway.

A suspected motive for the fatal jail beating has not been disclosed. Flores, a Spring Valley resident, had been in custody for six months on suspicion of attempted murder, attempted robbery, shooting at a person from a vehicle and conspiracy to commit a crime.

According to prosecutors, Ortiz is in prison for striking a person with a hammer during a carjacking, Rivers for being a felon in possession of ammunition and a firearm, and Rocha for possessing a BB gun, ammunition, and carrying a concealed dirk or dagger.

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