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6 Dead in Guatemala Prison Riot

A violent prison riot in Guatemala City has claimed the lives of six prisoners, four of whom were decapitated. At least 15 others were wounded. One of the prisoners who lost his life was being jailed for the high profile murder of a Guatemalan bishop five years ago.

As a light drizzle fell on the grounds outside this prison on a hillside on the northern edge of Guatemala City, municipal firefighters took wounded prisoners out of the prison gates. A group of prisoners, some of them with bloodstains on their hands, looked on from the other side of a chain link fence.

Eric Giovanni, 22, was one of them. He says he saw dead people, people without heads. He says what he saw has him terrified and he thanks god that he made it out alive.

One of those who didn't make it out alive is Juan Obdulia Villanueva, a former member of the presidential guard who was serving a 30-year sentence for the 1998 murder of a Guatemalan Bishop, Juan Gerardi.

Bishop Gerardi, a champion of human rights, was bludgeoned to death two days after he released a report attributing the vast majority of deaths in Guatemala's 36-year civil war to the military and paramilitary groups.

Villanueva was one of three members of the military convicted for the crime. Their lawyers have appealed the ruling and are awaiting a decision.

One of his co-defendants, Byron Lima, says he holds the Catholic Church's human rights office responsible for Villanueva's death, since they were the ones who put an innocent man in jail.

The cause of the riot has not been officially determined, but law enforcement authorities suspect rivalries among prisoner gangs have led to the violence.

Last Christmas Eve, 14 prisoners were murdered in a riot at another prison just outside Guatemala City.