Death row inmate convicted of killing two people in Riverside County is found dead in cell

A man in uniform looks inside a prison cell
In this 2010 photo, Investigative Services Lt. Eric Moore looks inside a single occupancy cell at Salinas Valley State Prison in Soledad, Calif. A convicted murderer in the prison was found dead in his cell on Wednesday.
(David Royal / Monterey County Herald via Associated Press)

A 55-year-old man convicted of two counts of first-degree murder in Riverside County was found dead in his cell on death row on Wednesday, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Salinas Valley State Prison medical staff pronounced Micky Ray Cage dead at 7:30 a.m. after he had been found unresponsive in the cell. The cause of death was unknown pending investigation by the Monterey County Coroner’s Office. He had been on death row for about 20 years.

For the record:

3:42 p.m. May 4, 2023A previous version of this article said that Micky Ray Cage was found dead on Monday. His death was discovered on Wednesday.

Micky Ray Cage
Micky Ray Cage died this week while incarcerated at Salinas Valley State Prison.
(California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation)

In 2003, Cage was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder and possession of a firearm by an ex-felon.

According to court documents, Cage’s estranged wife, Claribel Burgos, had taken their children to Puerto Rico in 1998 to escape physical and emotional abuse. Cage, upset by the move, began to threaten her family, the documents state.

On Nov. 9 of that year, Cage hid a shotgun in a basket full of laundry and went to confront his mother-in-law Brunilda Montanez, 50, in her Moreno Valley home, according to court documents.


Montanez opened the door and was shot and killed, according to court reports. Cage then went upstairs and fatally shot his brother-in-law David Burgos, 16, in the chest, according to the documents.

Cage appealed the conviction, but it was upheld by the California Supreme Court in 2015. He had since remained in custody on death row, but was not executed due to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s 2019 moratorium on executions.

There are currently 664 people on death row, according to data from the CDCR. Salinas Valley State Prison holds 2,892 minimum- and maximum-custody incarcerated males.