A death row inmate sentenced in a Contra Costa County case from 1979 died on Wednesday at San Quentin State Prison, according to a statement from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
Joseph S. Cordova, who had been on California’s death row since 2007, was 75. He was found unresponsive in his single cell and pronounced dead at 4:22 p.m. There were no signs of trauma, according to the CDCR, but his cause of death and whether he had contracted Covid-19 were not yet known.
Cordova was sentenced to death in 2007 for the rape and murder of eight-year-old Cannie Melinda Bullock in San Pablo in August 1979.
Investigators matched DNA from the crime scene to Cordova 23 years later, in 2002, when he was serving a prison sentence in Colorado for child molestation.
There are 724 people on California’s death row.