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Former Riot Negotiator Arrested After Officer Killed.

February 6, 1986

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) _ An ex-convict praised by Gov. Toney Anaya for helping to save the lives of three guards in a 1980 riot at the New Mexico State Penitentiary has been arrested following the slaying a policeman.

Vincent Paul Candelaria, 34, whose sentence was reduced because of his actions at the prison, was arrested Wednesday night and was booked on suspicion of murder and armed robbery. He was expected to be arraigned today or Friday.

Officer Kenneth Shawn McWethy, the 23-year-old son of Kenneth L. McWethy, special agent in charge of the U.S. Secret Service office in Albuquerque, was shot several times Saturday afternoon as he sat in his car just off a busy street, police said. An auto parts store had been robbed in the same area moments earlier, but McWethy apparently was not aware of the robbery, police said.

In September 1984, Anaya reduced the sentences of 13 inmates - including Candelaria - based on information that they had saved the lives of guards or other inmates in the Feb. 2-3, 1980, riot at the Santa Fe prison that resulted in the deaths of 33 inmates.

At the time, Candelaria was serving a 70- to 220-year sentence for armed robbery with a deadly weapon, two counts of aggravated assault on a peace officer with firearm enhancement, for being a habitual criminal and two counts of distribution of heroin.

Anaya’s decision to reduce the sentences of the 13 inmates through a form of executive clemency referred to the ″meritorious actions″ of those inmates during the bloody riot.

Anaya reduced Candelaria’s sentence to a 65- to 220-year term, thus making him eligible for parole consideration immediately, said then Anaya aide John Ramming.

Candelaria was among six inmate negotiators who dealt with prison officials. Anaya’s order reducing his sentence said he had been instrumental in saving the lives of three prison guards.

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