Two convicted felons and another man were charged with first-degree murder in the fatal beating of a local inmate accused of child molestation.
Aaron Allen Aubrey, 26, Jason Lynn Barton, 43, and Richard Hampton, 37, allegedly killed 29-year-old Rosendo Echevarria earlier this month at the Larry D. Smith Correctional Facility in Banning.
Aubrey and Hampton have since been relocated to the Benoit Detention Center in Indio, while Barton has been moved to the Byrd Detention Center in Murrieta.
In addition to the murder count, all three men are charged with a special-circumstance allegation of lying in wait, which could make them eligible for the death penalty if convicted and Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin decides to pursue it.
They are slated to make a joint appearance before Riverside County Superior Court Judge Timothy Hollenhorst on Monday afternoon at the Banning Justice Center.
According to sheriff's officials, Echevarria was attacked about 9:30 p.m. on Sept. 8 within a cell block where he and the defendants were housed.
By the time correctional deputies reached Echevarria, he was dead, Sgt. Rick Espinoza said.
The assailants were not immediately identified, but Espinoza said the ensuing investigation ultimately pointed to Aubrey, Barton and Hampton, who were formally arrested and removed from the Smith jail in the last week.
A possible motive for the attack has not been disclosed.
Aubrey is separately charged with murder for allegedly killing his 51-year-old mother in Riverside and then stealing her car in June 2018. He has been jailed since that time, awaiting trial. The defendant has no documented prior felony convictions.
Barton is separately charged with gunning down his father and girlfriend in Moreno Valley on Christmas Eve 2015, and he has been jailed and awaiting trial since then. He has prior convictions for assault with a deadly weapon, domestic violence resulting in traumatic injuries and felony battery.
Hampton has been awaiting trial for an alleged attempted murder in the Riverside metropolitan area in June 2019, for which details were not available. The defendant has prior felony convictions out of another jurisdiction, but court records did not specify the nature of the offenses.
Echevarria was originally arrested by the Cathedral City Police Department in August 2013. He was charged with multiple counts of lewd acts and oral copulation with a minor under the age of 10.
John Hall, public information officer for the Riverside County District Attorney's Office, told News Channel 3 that criminal proceedings in Echevarria's case were suspended in February after the defense attorney made a motion regarding Echevarria's mental competency to stand trial.
Echevarria was awaiting an evaluation regarding mental health services before the case could continue to move forward.