Ex-inmate sentenced in 2009 riot at prison

Cornelius L. Martin received jail time for his role in a fight at the penitentiary.


— A Washington State Penitentiary inmate who pleaded guilty Monday to a charge of prison riot for participating in a 2009 melee at the institution was sentenced this morning to serve 30 days.

Cornelius L. Martin, 42, faced up to a year. But in imposing the month-long sentence, Walla Walla County Superior Court Judge Donald W. Schacht went along with a prosecution recommendation.

Schacht gave Martin credit for the 15 days he previously served related to the offense and dismissed a companion charge of second-degree assault.

Martin apologized to Schacht this morning and said his criminal record "may look extensive, but that's from abusing crack cocaine."

Martin added he's now determined to give up the drug, saying. "I want to get my life together."

The riot stemmed from a fight between two penitentiary inmates that broke out about 1 p.m. Feb. 7, 2009, and escalated to involve 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 other inmates were 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 in April 2011 when the charges were filed against him.

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

He was released Sept. 14 to live in Kent, Wash., pending a trial in late October, but reportedly failed to keep in contact with his attorney.

Martin subsequently was taken into custody and is serving 90 days for a drug violation related to a previous crime.

The 30-day sentence imposed this morning will be served at the same time.


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