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Inmate fatally stabbed at Elmore County prison

November 19, 2018

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — An inmate fatally stabbed a fellow prisoner at a state facility in Alabama, authorities said Monday.

James Lewis Kennedy, 39, was stabbed Sunday morning during a fight with another inmate at Elmore Correctional Facility in Elmore County, Department of Corrections spokesman Bob Horton said.

Inmate Patrick Dean Smith, 29, has been charged with murder, Horton said in a statement. It could not be determined from court records if Smith has a lawyer.

The circumstances of the stabbing are under investigation, Horton said.

Kennedy was serving a life sentence after being convicted in 2004 of first-degree burglary and attempted murder in Henry County.

Smith is serving a life sentence for a 2012 second-degree-assault conviction in Mobile County.

Elmore Correctional Facility is a medium-security prison.

Seven inmates have been fatally stabbed in state prisons since January. Three of those fatalities occurred at St. Clair Correctional Facility in Springville.

The Montgomery-based nonprofit organization Equal Justice Initiative filed a class-action lawsuit in 2014 against the state Department of Corrections in connection with previous homicides and assaults at St. Clair. In a settlement reached in December, the prison system agreed to implement a number of reforms, including replacing broken locks and implementing a new internal classification system to help decide where to place inmates, the organization said.

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