- Associated Press - Friday, June 13, 2014

NATCHEZ, Miss. (AP) - The attorney for an inmate indicted on federal charges of conspiracy to commit murder related to a deadly prison riot in Mississippi told a judge Thursday the defendant wasn’t ready to plead guilty as everyone expected.

Jesus Beltran-Rodriguez was one of five inmates indicted on a charge of conspiracy to commit murder in relation to the May 20, 2012, riot at the Adams County Correctional Center.

He had pleaded not guilty to the charge May 22, but was scheduled for a change of plea hearing Thursday in U.S. District Court in Natchez, according to The Natchez Democrat (https://bit.ly/1l7NLyb).

In an appearance before U.S. District Judge David Bramlette, Rodriguez, speaking through an interpreter, told the judge he had questions for his attorney.

After a 15-minute conference, his attorney, Damon Stevenson of Jackson, told Bramlette that he met with his client Monday and Rodriguez had indicated at that time he was ready to move forward with the plea.

“Since Monday, it appears some issues have arisen,” Stevenson said. “He has been informed that mother is gravely ill, and he is very emotional. At this time, I don’t think he is able to think clearly.”

Bramlette granted a request from Rodriguez’s attorney to delay the plea hearing.

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, which holds immigrants convicted of crimes while being in the U.S. illegally.

Court records show Beltran-Rodriguez is one of the inmates suspected of beating the guard, Catlin Carithers, who died.

The prison holds nearly 2,500 inmates, most of them convicted on charges of coming back to the U.S. after deportation for being in the country illegally. The prison is operates by Nashville, Tennessee-based Corrections Corporation of America, one of the nation’s largest private prison companies.

Several other inmates have been charged - or convicted - with participating in the riot.

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Information from: The Natchez Democrat, https://www.natchezdemocrat.com/

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