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Crime

RSO: Inmate killed by cellmate at John Benoit Detention Center in Indio

KESQ

A Hemet man has been identified as the suspect in the murder of his cellmate at the John Benoit Detention Center in Indio.

John Hemmer, 48, of South Dakota was found with significant traumatic injuries during a routine safety check of inmates at the jail on Wednesday morning, according to the Riverside County Sheriff's Department.

Jail staff attempted emergency lifesaving measures until fire and medical crews arrived. Despite these attempts, Hemmer was pronounced dead and the housing area of the jail was secured as a crime scene.

Homicide investigators would later identify Hemmer's cellmate, a 42-year-old man from Hemet, as the suspect in this murder. The man was arrested for murder and remains in custody at the John Benoit Detention Center.

The investigation remains on-going and authorities say that no further information will be released at this time.

Anyone with information regarding this investigation is asked to call Investigator Button with the Central Homicide Unit at 951-955-2777. Residents can also submit a tip using the Sheriff's Homicide Tipline online form.

Hemmer was originally arrested on February 6, 2019 and was still awaiting trial for. He was accused of kidnapping his girlfriend and holding her at a Desert Hot Springs RV park. Last year, he was charged with 9 felony counts including torture, attempted murder, criminal threats and several spousal abuse counts,.

He faced a potential life sentence if convicted.

The suspect in Hemmer's murder was in custody on $165,000 bail awaiting trial on an assault on a person causing great bodily injury charge from 2018, court records show. He has prior felony convictions in Riverside County including assault with a deadly weapon.

Stay with News Channel 3 for any updates.

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Jesus Reyes

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