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Inmate convicted in 1987 El Monte slaying dies in prison hospital

Inmate convicted in 1987 El Monte slaying dies in prison hospital
Death row inmate Mario Gray was found dead in his cell. He was convicted of murdering an El Monte woman in 1987. (California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation)

A man convicted in the rape and murder of an 87-year-old woman in her El Monte home more than two decades ago was pronounced dead after he was found unresponsive in his death row cell, authorities said Monday.

Mario Lewis Gray, 55, was found Saturday morning in his single cell at San Quentin State Prison, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said Monday. Gray was pronounced dead at the prison hospital.

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Gray was found guilty by a jury in the April 24, 1987, slaying of Ruby Reed. Gray was convicted of burglary, rape and murder.

He had been on death row since March 1990. The cause of his death is pending an autopsy, corrections authorities said in a statement.

Since California reinstated the death penalty in 1978, 59 condemned inmates have died from natural causes, 22 have committed suicide and 13 have been executed in California. One was executed in Missouri, six have died from other causes, and the death of one is pending autopsy results, according to corrections authorities.

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