Sacto 9-1-1
September 14, 2011
'I didn't kill him. He died,' inmate said of strangled cellmate

Roberto Canchola Jr. admitted to wrapping a speaker wire around Julian Joseph Barajas' neck and choking him unconscious, but he denied under oath today that he killed his California State Prison, Sacramento, cellmate.

"Ma,am, I didn't kill him," Canchola testified, under cross examination from Deputy District Attorney Roxanne Ball. "He died."

Canchola is accused of arranging for a cell switch that put Barajas in the same cell with him so he could avenge the 1993 murder of his brother committed by Barajas.

Under direct questioning Tuesday from defense attorney Russell W. Miller, Canchola said he never knew Barajas was his brother's killer. He also testified that Barajas attacked him three times over eight days in their cell before he got the upper hand on his cellie on Sept. 20, 2004, and left him for dead on the lower bunk.,

Canchola testified today he never called the authorities about the attacks because "I thought it was an issue I could take care of, that I could control."

Closing arguments in Canchola's Sacramento Superior Court trial are expected to take place on Thursday.

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