- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 29, 2015

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - An inmate already serving life behind bars has been given a second life sentence in the slaying of a federal prison guard.

Joseph Cabrera Sablan pleaded guilty in July to murder in the 2008 slaying of 22-year-old Correctional Officer Jose Rivera at the United States Penitentiary in Atwater, about 100 miles southeast of Sacramento.

Sablan, now 47, and co-defendant James Guerrero were both serving life sentences and had histories of violence against guards before the attack.

Prosecutors say Sablan attacked Rivera with an eight-inch homemade knife while Guerrero held Rivera down.

Guerrero was sentenced last year to life without the possibility of release.

The crime could have brought the death penalty. The life sentences were criticized by the union that represents 33,000 federal prison workers, including correctional officers.

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