Trial Underway Over Inmate's Death In Canon City

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The lawyer for a man accused of beating his cellmate to death with two padlocks in 2010 says her client acted in self-defense.

Lawyers in the first-degree murder trial of Ponciano Zendejas-Garces, of Mexico, gave opening arguments Wednesday. Zendejas is accused in the death of 34-year-old James Schneider at the medium-security Colorado Territorial prison in Canon City.

The Pueblo Chieftain reports Deputy District Attorney Michael Pirraglia told jurors Schneider was sleeping when he was attacked.
Public defender Magdalena Rosa argued that her client acted out of fear after previous assaults by Schneider, who was heavier, taller and younger than Zendejas.

Zendejas was in prison for the stabbing death of his common-law wife, while Schneider was sentenced for forgery.

The trial is expected to run through next week.