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Inmate heads to trial for prison riot

NATCHEZ — The inmate accused of leading the deadly assault against correctional officer Catlin Carithers in last May’s prison riot at the Adams County Correctional Center will face trial in June.

Marco Perez-Serrano was arraigned before federal magistrate Judge Linda Anderson April 22, where he waived a formal reading of the indictment on charges of mutiny and riot and entered a plea of “not guilty.”

Perez-Serrano is now set to face jury trial in Natchez before U.S. District Court Judge David Bramlette on June 3. The defendant was indicted in February.

During the seven-hour riot on May 20, 2012, inmates at the ACCC took over the prison, taking hostages, assaulting guards and raiding the prison’s facilities, ultimately causing a reported $1.3 million in damages and killing one guard, Carithers. Reports filed by federal investigators stated that the inmates were protesting what they believed were inadequacies in prison food and health care and disrespect from correctional employees.

Rioters were able to steal a ladder and stack food service carts to access the roofs of the prison buildings, where correctional officers were assaulted. A previous court filing by an FBI investigator stated that, “An inmate who participated in the riot witnessed (Perez-Serrano) on the roof… Perez-Serrano was identified as being the first inmate to assault Carithers, striking him with a food tray from the kitchen.”

The filing goes on to allege that after attacking Carithers, Perez-Serrano attacked another correctional officer with a food tray, destroyed prison property — including a security camera — and actively fought with members of the Mississippi Highway Patrol and the prison’s response team as they retook control of the prison.

Two other inmates have previously pleaded guilty to participating in the riot.