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latest news Suspect of sensational Palm Springs murder found dead in jail

A suspect due to be retried in a sensational 2008 murder was found dead in a Riverside jail on Tuesday, according to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department. He appears to have been killed, possibly at the hands of another inmate, deputies said.

Kaushal Niroula, 41, was discovered unresponsive around 2.30pm on Tuesday while being held at Cois Byrd Detention Centre, according to Deputy Sergeant. Richard Carroll. Niroula was injured after an “altercation” with Rodney Sanchez, 61, also being held at the prison, according to the department.

Sanchez has been charged with murder in Niroula’s death, Carroll said in a statement.

Niroula was found guilty in 2012 of premeditated murder and sentenced to life in prison for helping plan and being present for the stabbing of wealthy art dealer Clifford Lambert, 74, at his 5-bedroom home. 000 square feet in Palm Springs. Niroula’s conviction was overturned in 2018 and a new trial was ordered due to biased and homophobic comments during Judge David Downing’s first trial.

“Niroula’s first trial in Riverside County was dismissed due to findings of judicial bias. In preparation for Niroula’s second trial, Niroula was working to expose other government misconduct related to Niroula’s prosecution and publicly expressed Niroula’s growing concern for Niroula’s safety while in custody in the county of Niroula. Riverside,” said Niroula’s attorney, Shaun Sullivan. “I await the opportunity to review the circumstances of Niroula’s death.”

Niroula was described at trial as one of California’s most prolific con artists alongside co-defendant Daniel Garcia in the early 2000s. Niroula came from Nepal as an international student at New College of California in 2002. The six years following Niroula’s arrival in San Francisco were marred by a slew of lawsuits and crimes that ultimately led to Lambert’s alleged murder.

Downing was caught on tapes taken during the trial commenting on Niroula’s HIV status. The judge said he would not touch the envelopes containing the motions filed by Niroula, who represented herself at trial, because Niroula had licked them.

“Oh, disgusting, and he’s HIV positive. God knows where his tongue has been,” Downing hears telling his clerk in a recording.

Downing also said in the tapes that he planned to rule in favor of prosecutors not to sever Niroula’s trial of co-defendant Daniel Garcia because, if tried together, the two could become involved.

“It’s every prosecutor’s dream,” Downing said, according to the tapes. “He’ll take the helm and say, ‘That wasn’t me. It was him.’ The other will take the helm and say, “It wasn’t me, it was him.” Then the jury convicts them both. It’s awesome. That’s why I won’t cut anything. To hell with that.

Downing declined to comment on the Desert Sun tapes in 2018, but said the defendants received the “fairest trial ever – and more”.

In the first retrial in the case stemming from Downing’s comments, 73-year-old former lawyer David Replogle was found guilty of first-degree murder, three counts of burglary, two counts of robbery and ‘one count each of impersonation, attempted unlawful receipt of stolen property, forgery and one particular circumstance allegation of murder for financial gain in murder.

A date had not yet been set for Niroula’s retrial, but Niroula was due back in court on Friday.

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