SAN QUENTIN – Condemned inmate Gilbert R. Rubio, 55, was found unresponsive in his solely-occupied cell during a security check just after 6 a.m. today. He was pronounced deceased at 6:34 a.m. by paramedics who had been summoned to the institution. His cause of death is to be determined by the Marin County Coroner.
Rubio was sentenced to death on September 20, 2000, by a Los Angeles County jury for the 1998 murder and robbery of George Blackwell at his home in Long Beach. Rubio was convicted of first-degree murder with the use of a firearm with the special circumstance of robbery and burglary. Rubio had been on California’s death row since September 27, 2000.
Two others were also convicted of Blackwell’s murder committed during a home-invasion robbery. Monica M. Chavez, 59, was sentenced in Los Angeles County on March 30, 2000. She has been serving a life-without-parole sentence for first-degree murder with the use of a firearm since April 20, 2000, and is currently incarcerated at Central California Women’s Facility. Alex F. Vega, 61, was sentenced March 24, 2000, in Los Angeles County. He was also convicted of first-degree murder with the use of a firearm and has been serving a life-without-parole sentence since March 29, 2000. He is currently incarcerated at California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison in Corcoran.
Since 1978 when California reinstated capital punishment, 70 condemned inmates have died from natural causes, 25 have committed suicide, 13 have been executed in California, one was executed in Missouri, one was executed in Virginia, eight have died from other causes and one cause of death (Rubio) is pending. There are currently 747 people on California’s death row.
CONTACT: Sgt. Christopher Siino