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Attorney General OKs death penalty case in murder of Atwater correctional officer

The office of newly appointed Attorney General Eric Holder has authorized the local U.S. Attorney's Office to seek the death penalty against two inmates at Atwater's federal penitentiary who stabbed and killed a correctional officer last June. If the case proceeds, it would be the first time a death penalty trial would be held in Fresno's federal courthouse.

Inmates James Leon Guerrero, 43, and Jose Cabrera Sablan, 40, both from Guam, are already facing first-degree murder charges in the death of Chowchilla resident Jose Rivera, a U.S. Navy veteran who served four years in the military, including two tours in Iraq.

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