Sentencing reset in Miss. prison riot

Court NewsThe Associated Press

NATCHEZ, Miss. (AP) — A federal judge has rescheduled the sentencing for an inmate who pleaded guilty to participating in a deadly riot at a prison in Mississippi.

One guard was killed and 20 people were injured in the May 20, 2012, riot at the privately run Adams County Correctional Facility in Natchez. The prison holds illegal immigrants convicted of crimes in the U.S.

Yoany Oriel Serrano-Bejarano was scheduled for sentencing Sept. 5 in U.S. District Court in Natchez.

It has been rescheduled for Nov. 19.

He faces up to 10 years in prison.

The prison holds nearly 2,500 inmates, most of them convicted on charges of coming back to the U.S. after being deported. The prison is owned by Nashville, Tenn.-based Corrections Corporation of America, one of the nation’s largest private prison companies.

A complaint filed by an FBI agent says prisoners took food service carts out of the dining hall and kitchen and stacked them on top of each other to climb onto the roof where correction officer Catlin Carithers was beaten to death.

“Serrano-Bejarano has been identified as one of the inmates who held the food carts so the inmates could access the roof,” according to the affidavit.

The FBI said in court records that the riot was started by a group of Mexican inmates, known as Paisas, who were angry about what they considered poor food and medical care and disrespectful guards. Paisas are a loosely affiliated group within the prison, without ties to organized gangs, authorities say.

The prison’s special response team and the Mississippi Highway Patrol’s SWAT team worked to end the riot while state and area law enforcement officers, some from neighboring Louisiana, helped secure the outside.