One of the men convicted last spring of multiple murders linked to the MS-13 criminal gang in Santa Maria has been accused of fatally stabbing another state prison inmate.

Juan Serrano

Juan Serrano

Juan Serrano from Santa Barbara County and Jose Perez from Los Angeles County allegedly attacked a fellow inmate at Centinela State Prison in Imperial, according to California Department of Corretions and Rehabilitation officials.

Prison staff responded at 10:16 a.m. Monday when Perez and Serrano allegedly attacked inmate William Quintero in a recreation yard, prison officials said, adding that staff contained the incident within minutes. 

During their investigation, prison staff recovered two inmate-manufactured weapons. 

Quintero suffered multiple injuries and was airlifted to an outside hospital where he was pronounced dead at 7:33 p.m.

The Riverside County Coroner will determine Quintero’s official cause of death, CDCR officials said. 

Perez and Serrano have been moved to segregated housing as the investigation continues, CDCR officials said, adding that the Office of the Inspector General had been notified.

Serrano, 34, was most recently admitted from Santa Barbara County on May 19, 2022, to serve life without the possibility of parole for first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, and conspiracy to participate in criminal street gang acts.

He was among five defendants linked to MS-13 to stand trial in Santa Maria for multiple murders. 

On May 18, the man whose full name is Juan Carlos Urbina Serrano and goes by the gang moniker of “Peligro,” was ordered by a Santa Maria judge to spend 313 years to life plus nine life-without-parole sentences,

Perez, 46, was admitted from Los Angeles County on Oct. 23, 2008, to serve life without the possibility of parole for first-degree murder, second-degree murder, and kidnapping.

Quintero, 47, was admitted from Los Angeles County on July 8, 1999, to serve life without the possibility of parole for first-degree murder, kidnaping, first-degree robbery, and second-degree robbery.

The Centinela prison opened in 1993 and houses approximately 3,000 inmates.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at jscully@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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Janene Scully | Noozhawk North County Editor

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at jscully@noozhawk.com.