Inmate recalls grisly 1980 New Mexico prison riot

33 inmates killed during New Mexico State Penitentiary riot


SANTA FE, N.M. —A former inmate who survived one of the deadliest prison riots in U.S. history recalled the gruesome scene during a recent interview with Action 7 News.

On Feb. 2, 1980, New Mexico and the nation watched in horror as the prison devolved from an organized correctional facility into a slaughterhouse of sheer terror.

In 1980, Gary Nelson, a convicted bank robber, escaped from another state prison. When police caught him in New Mexico, prison officials held him in Cell Block Two in Old Main.

Full story: Inmate recalls grisly 1980 New Mexico prison riot

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