Trial date set for man in penitentiary riot

Cornelius L. Martin is accused of participating in a major brawl at the penitentiary 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 pleaded innocent Monday afternoon to two felony charges in Walla Walla County Superior Court.

Cornelius L. Martin, 41, is set for trial Oct. 31-Nov. 1 on the charges of second-degree assault and prison riot.

The charges stem 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 massive fight.

Charges against a third were dismissed.

Because Martin had been released from the prison sometime after the fight, an arrest warrant was issued last April when the charges were filed against him.

He was booked into the County Jail on Aug. 30. His jail booking sheet indicates he had been homeless in the Seattle area.

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

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