A corrections officer stabbed by an inmate earlier this month has died, Alabama prison officials said — the latest attack at a state facility that has been grappling with violence.
Corrections officer Kenneth Bettis, a 44-year-old father of three and a veteran of the Alabama Army National Guard, died Friday, the Alabama Department of Corrections said. He worked at the Holman Correctional Facility, the only prison in the state that carries out executions, since 2009, reported NBC affiliate WPMI.
“Officer Bettis was known among his colleagues as a firm, but fair corrections officer, and was highly respected for his work ethic and dedicated service to his profession,” Alabama Corrections Commissioner Jeff Dunn said in a statement.
The inmate, Cleveland Cunningham, assaulted and stabbed Bettis for denying him an extra tray of food, prison officials said.
Cunningham, who is already serving 20 years for a 2013 first-degree robbery charge, was charged with attempted murder when the assault first occurred Sept. 1. The charge will be upgraded to murder, officials said.
The Holman Correctional Facility, located in rural southern Alabama, has seen other incidents involving inmate attacks this year.
Last month, three inmates were stabbed during an altercation. While the correctional officers were responding to the disturbance, another group of inmates expressed hostility toward the staff. A fire was started, leading to a lock down.
In March, the warden and a corrections officer were stabbed in a prison fight. Two days after that incident, an inmate was stabbed by a fellow inmate.The prison has a reputation for being incredibly violent. Inmates call the prison “House of Pain” and “The Slaughterhouse” in reference to the stabbings that have occurred.