John Gardner Photo from the CDC

John Gardner Photo from the CDC (May 18, 2010)

SAN DIEGO -- Convicted killer John Gardner has been transferred to a state prison north of Bakersfield.

Gardner, 31, left his downtown San Diego jail cell at 2 a.m. Tuesday for North Kern State Prison

The medium-security facility in Delano is one of 11 reception centers in the state prison system.

He arrived about 6 a.m. and moved into a single-person cell in an administrative segregation unit, said Terry Thornton, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Gardner is expected to undergo a 45-day review to determine which prison he should be placed in permanently based on his needs such as criminal history, medical, mental-health and security concerns.

Prison officials say the publicity surrounding the case and the nature of Gardner's crimes could place him in a "sensitive needs" yard, a form of protective custody.

The former Lake Elsinore resident pleaded guilty last month to the sex- assault slayings of 14-year-old Amber Dubois and 17-year-old Chelsea King.

He was sentenced Friday to 2 consecutive life prison terms without the possibility of parole, plus 49 years to life for assault with intent to rape jogger, Candice Moncayo, 22.

A special task force is charged with determining whether Gardner -- who was sent to prison in 2000 and served about six years for sexually assaulting a neighbor girl -- is responsible for any other unsolved kidnappings, rapes or homicides.

Riverside County authorities are investigating him in connection with the attempted abduction of a girl in Lake Elsinore last October.