Washington State Penitentiary inmates sentenced in 2009 riot

Both men received added time behind bars for their roles in the melee.

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WALLA WALLA -- Two prison inmates have been sentenced for crimes they committed during a melee at the Washington State Penitentiary in 2009.

Daniel F. Salas, 33, was handed a three-month prison term Thursday for felony riot. The maximum standard-range penalty he faced was a year.

Co-defendant Mark J. Viena, 34, was sentenced Tuesday to a year-and-a-day for custodial assault. He could have been sentenced to up to 16 months.

Both men pleaded guilty Aug. 8.

In handing down the sentences -- which will be served after their current prison terms expire -- Superior Court Judge Donald W. Schacht went along with prosecution recommendations.

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.

A third defendant, inmate Lamark A. Walker, 44, had been charged with second-degree assault and prison riot for allegedly throwing a wooden storage box at a fellow prisoner. But the charges were dropped in an order Schacht signed Wednesday at the request of the prosecution.

Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Joe Golden said in an interview he may not have been able to prove his case. He explained that no officer actually witnessed Walker commit the alleged crimes, and the purported victim has been released from prison and can't be found.

Walker currently is serving a sentence of life without parole under the state's three-strikes law for crimes including manslaughter, robbery and second-degree assault.

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.

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

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