Two inmates plead guilty in 2009 riot at Washington State Penitentiary

Daniel F. Salas and Mark J. Viena were accused of assaulting an officer during the fight.

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WALLA WALLA -- Two prison inmates pleaded guilty Monday to crimes they committed during a melee at the Washington State Penitentiary in 2009.

Daniel F. Salas, 33, entered a guilty plea in Superior Court to a felony-riot charge. In exchange, the prosecution is recommending an additional three-month prison term when he's sentenced later. The maximum sentence would be a year.

Co-defendant Mark J. Viena, 34, pleaded guilty to custodial assault, with the prosecution recommending the low end of the standard-range penalty of a-year-and-a-day to 16 months.

The charges stemmed from a fight between two penitentiary inmates that broke out about 1 p.m. Feb. 7, 2009. It then escalated into a riot involving at least 24 prisoners in the day room of Unit 6 in the prison's main institution, according to authorities.

Officials said Salas and Viena assaulted a correctional officer during the massive fight.

Salas was sentenced in 2006 for second-degree assault and second-degree malicious mischief. Viena's criminal history includes robbery, assault, drug and firearms convictions.

Inmate Lamark A. Walker, 44, a third defendant in the melee, is awaiting trial on charges of second-degree assault and prison riot for allegedly throwing a wooden storage box at a fellow prisoner.

Terry McConn can be reached at terrymcconn@wwub.com or 526-8319.

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