In a tragic incident at Smith State Prison, a corrections officer, Robert Clark, aged 42, lost his life on Sunday after being attacked by an inmate wielding a makeshift weapon, as confirmed by state officials. Clark was escorting offenders Layton Lester and Marko Willingham from the prison’s dining hall when Lester assaulted him from behind. Willingham bravely intervened but was also injured during the attack.
Clark and Willingham were rushed to the hospital, where Clark succumbed to his injuries. Willingham, on the other hand, is in stable condition. Commissioner Tyrone Oliver expressed deep condolences to Officer Clark’s family and colleagues, vowing support during this challenging time.
Lester, with a prior conviction of murder and armed robbery in 2007, is anticipated to face charges for the fatal assault on Clark and the assault on Willingham.
The incident is part of a concerning pattern at Smith State Prison in Glennville, situated about 50 miles west of Savannah. Earlier this year, Warden Brian Adams was terminated and arrested on various charges, including conspiracy and bribery, tied to a broader investigation into criminal activities at the prison.
An ongoing investigation by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has shed light on a significant number of Georgia Department of Corrections employees being arrested since 2018 for on-the-job crimes, predominantly involving contraband. This tragic event underscores the urgent need for reform and improved safety measures within the correctional system.