Central jail
The central jail on Front Street in downtown San Diego. Photo by Chris Stone

Prosecutors plan to file a murder charge against a prison inmate suspected of killing his cellmate while in jail in San Diego, authorities said this week.

The alleged crime occurred while Patrick James Ferncase, 30, awaited trial on a North County attempted murder charge. A jury would eventually convict him.

The San Diego County District Attorney’s Office now also will prosecute Ferncase for the alleged jailhouse slaying of Derek Baker, who died on March 29, 2022.

Earlier that month, Baker, 56, was sent to San Diego Central Jail following a misdemeanor conviction for violating a restraining order, and he was assigned to a two-person cell shared with Ferncase, San Diego County sheriff’s Lt. Anthony O’Boyle said.

Eight days later, Ferncase allegedly attacked Baker, leaving him gravely injured. Baker died after spending several weeks hospitalized in critical condition.

An autopsy showed that the victim succumbed to blunt-force injuries to his head.

Ferncase was arrested in December 2021 on suspicion of assaulting a 68-year-old man at a Carlsbad shopping center. After his convicted in that case, a judge sentenced him to 28 years in a Central California penitentiary, Kern Valley State Prison.

Authorities have disclosed no motive for the alleged murder of Baker.

– City News Service