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Inmate pleads guilty in prison riot death

NATCHEZ — A federal inmate from the Adams County Correctional Center in Natchez pleaded guilty Monday in U.S. District Court in Jackson to second-degree murder.

Jesus Beltran Rodriguez, 36, an inmate from Mexico, is the second inmate from the facility to plead guilty to a murder charge as a result of a riot at the Adams County Correctional Center on May 20, 2102.

Ricardo Gonzalez-Porras also pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in January.

Several correctional officers were assaulted and one correctional officer, Catlin Carithers, died as a result of injuries he received during the assaults.

Other correctional officers were taken captive by inmates and held hostage for several hours.

The riot started when inmates sought to protest what they perceived as inadequate food and medical treatment and disrespect from guards.

Federal affidavits have stated the initial protest was organized following a change in leadership in an informal inmate group known as Paisas. The protest erupted into a full-scale riot after prison authorities attempted to break it up.

Carithers was on a building roof deploying chemical crowd control canisters when inmates stacked food service trays and other items to get to him and other guards on the building.

Damage to the Adams County Correctional Center was estimated to be more than $1.3 million.

Senior U.S. District Judge David C. Bramlette III will sentence Rodriguez on May 19. He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison and $250,000 fine.