UPDATED: Ex-Death Row Inmate Beaten Into Coma

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Convicted rapist/murderer Michael Guzman is in a coma after he was attacked by more than a dozen inmates at a Clayton facility where he was moved about two weeks ago from the Santa Rosa prison for his safety, KRQE News 13 is reporting.

Guzman was sentenced to death for kidnapping and raping two University of New Mexico students back in 1981, killing one of them, News 13 reported.

His death sentence was commuted to life by former Gov. Toney Anaya, and his bid for parole was denied in April, according to earlier reports.

The Department of Corrections said the inmates involved in the attack were new to the Clayton facility and didn’t know each other, according to KRQE.

“He had been there for one day, he was in the orientation pod when 15 other inmates assaulted him,” Shannon McReynolds of the Department of Corrections told News 13.

Guzman has been at University of New Mexico Hospital since the attack earlier this month, KRQE reported.

“Currently he is unresponsive,” said McReynolds, who said doctors are currently doing tests to determine the extent of the injuries Guzman suffered, News 13 said.

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4/5/11 –Ex-Death Row Inmate Denied Parole

By Leslie Linthicum/Journal Staff Writer

          The New Mexico Parole Board denied former death row inmate Michael Guzman’s request for parole from prison Monday, after hearing a plea from his surviving victim. Colene Bush, who was 20 in 1981 when she and a friend were abducted by Guzman and attacked in Tijeras Canyon, was one of several witnesses at the hearing in Santa Fe. Relatives of 19-year-old Julie Jackson, whom Guzman fatally stabbed after raping her, also attended. Guzman was present for the two-hour hearing by video from the Guadalupe County Correctional Facility. Bush did not speak at the parole hearing, but her brother read a letter she had written board members. “It said the jury had made a decision 29 years ago and I was there to reinforce the will of the jury,” Bush said after the hearing. Bush, who was stabbed dozens of times and left for dead, survived the attack, crawled to safety and testified against Guzman at his death penalty trial in 1982. Guzman was one of five inmates whose death sentences were commuted to life in prison by Gov. Toney Anaya at the end of his term in 1986. A life sentence in New Mexico is a minimum of 30 years before the possibility of parole. This month marked Guzman’s 30 years behind bars. Guzman, now 48, will continue to serve out his life sentence because of the parole board’s action Monday. He will be eligible for parole again in two years. If he is eventually paroled, he will begin serving another 16 years in prison for rape, kidnapping and attempted murder. Guzman’s parole possibility and the effects of the crime on Bush and others were featured last month in a series of UpFront columns in the Journal. Bush, who 30 years later bears the scars of dozens of stab wounds, described a life on hold as she tried to deal with the physical and emotional aftermath of the crime and said Guzman should never walk free. The parole board’s executive director, Ella Frank, said the board received “a mountain of letters” — at least 60 — and most were opposed to parole for Guzman.

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