Man who killed Warren High vice principal dies on death row

DOWNEY – Gilbert Rubio, the man sentenced to death for murdering a Warren High School vice principal in 1998, died Thursday in his cell at San Quentin State Prison. 

Rubio, 55, was unresponsive during a security check just after 6 a.m. Paramedics pronounced him dead at 6:34 a.m. 

His cause of death will be determined by the Marin County Coroner. 

Rubio was sentenced to death on Sept. 20, 2000 by a Los Angeles County jury for the 1998 murder and robbery of George Blackwell at his Long Beach home.

Blackwell, 46, was a popular vice principal at Warren High.

Here is how the L.A. Times reported the shooting at the time:

"On the evening of Jan. 12, 1998, he was sitting in his newly purchased house near the Long Beach waterfront when the high school's night custodian, Monica Chavez, came to the door with two men, including her boyfriend Rubio. Blackwell knew Chavez and Rubio; he had given them work at his house.

"What he did not know was that Rubio was a parolee with a long history of violence. The vice principal was robbed, forced to write a $2,000 check, and bound with duct tape and a dog chain. After Chavez and the other man, Alex Vega, left to cash the check, Rubio shot and killed Blackwell, according to court testimony."

Chavez, 59, was convicted and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. She lost an appeal and is incarcerated at Central California Women's Facility. 

Vega, 61, was convicted of first-degree murder and also sentenced to life without parole. He is incarcerated at the California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison in Corcoran.