� � � � � � � � � � � � June 19, 2001, Tuesday, BC cycle
� � � � � � � � � � � � � � � 4:09 AM Eastern Time
SECTION: State and Regional
LENGTH: 268 words
HEADLINE: Inmate's family sues prison firm, state officials
DATELINE: SANTA FE
�� The family of an Albuquerque man who was killed two years ago inside a privately run prison in southern New Mexico has filed a lawsuit against state officials and the company in charge of the lockup.
�� Richard Garcia's relatives claim prison officials knowingly created dangerous conditions that led to his death.
�� The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in federal court, names Wackenhut Corrections Corp., a Florida-based company that owns and operates the Lea County Correctional Facility; Gov. Gary Johnson; Corrections Secretary Rob Perry; and several prison officials.
�� Santa Fe attorneys Mark Donatelli and Robert Rothstein, who are representing the Garcia family, are seeking unspecified damages.
�� State and Wackenhut officials said Monday they could not comment on the pending lawsuit.
�� Garcia, 47, was in an isolation cell in June 1999 when a guard opened the door, allegedly allowing two inmates to enter and stab Garcia 50 times.
�� Inmates Paul Payne, 27, and John Price, 29, were charged with capital murder in Garcia's death.
�� Price pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison. Payne's trial is set for November.
�� According to the lawsuit, state and Wackenhut officials knew Payne and Price were violent offenders with a history of armed attacks on other prisoners.
�� Despite their histories, the lawsuit says the two inmates were appointed as trustees in the administrative segregation unit where Garcia was housed.
�� Garcia, who had been serving a term for aggravated battery, was to have been released this year.