A man accused of beating another man to death at a notorious drug house in downtown St. John's last year was almost killed in a planned attack at Her Majesty's Penitentiary in St. John's on Sunday.

CBC News has learned that Kenny Green, 35, was the target of an ambush in the prison's chapel around 3 p.m.

Sources tell CBC there were rumours that Green was under threat ever since he was charged with second-degree murder in the death of Joey Whalen last year. Whalen, 47, died in hospital March 17 from injuries sustained in an attack four days earlier.

Sunday's ambush on Green at the penitentiary was described by one source as a "bloodbath," with inmates using pieces of furniture and homemade knives as weapons. Several inmates were in on it, while others are said to have come to Green's defence.

Three or four guards also jumped in to break it up, and one of them is credited with protecting Green, possibily saving his life.

Staff warned of threat

After Green was charged with Whalen's murder last year, he was sent to the Waterford Hospital for a psychiatric assessment. Staff there were also told that Green's life was in danger.

Sources also say Green knew he might be attacked if he went to the prison's chapel on Sunday, but he went anyway.

The police are investigating, but CBC has learned Green isn't co-operating.

Sources also say that could mean some tense time at the penitentiary, should Green decide to seek revenge.

Sunday's brawl is said to have lasted less than two minutes with some inmates being taken to hospital with minor injuries.

It's not clear if Green was one of them.