Ex-penitentiary inmate arrested in riot

Cornelius L. Martin is accused of taking part in a riot at the prison in 2009.

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WALLA WALLA -- A former Washington State Penitentiary inmate accused of participating in a melee at the prison in 2009 has been returned to Walla Walla County to face the charges.

Cornelius L. Martin, 41, was booked into the County Jail on Tuesday. Bail was set at $25,000.

Because Martin had been released from the prison sometime after the massive fight, an arrest warrant was issued last April when he was charged in Superior Court with second-degree assault and prison riot. His jail booking sheet indicates he has been homeless in the Seattle area.

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 Martin picked up a wooden storage box and threw it at a fellow prisoner.

Two inmates who remain incarcerated at the prison have been sentenced to additional time for their actions related to the fight.

Charges against a third were dismissed.

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

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