Inmate sent to death row inmate for wife's murder found dead in cell at San Quentin prison

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SAN QUENTIN, California — A 64-year-old inmate who spent 14 years on California's death row for the murder of his estranged wife has died at San Quentin State Prison.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said in a statement that Richard James Poynton was found unresponsive in his single cell on Thursday morning and pronounced dead a short time later.

Prison officials say the cause of his death won't be known until an autopsy is performed.

Poynton had been on death row since April 2001, when a Los Angeles County jury convicted him of running his wife's car off the road, hitting her on the head and stabbing her to death.

Maria Poynton had obtained a restraining order against her husband a month before her Jan. 1999 murder.

There are now 752 people on death row.

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