Correctional officer stabbed at Holman Prison dies

Published: Sep. 16, 2016 at 10:17 PM CDT
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Cleveland Cunningham (Source: ADOC)
Cleveland Cunningham (Source: ADOC)

ATMORE, AL (WSFA) - The correctional officer who was stabbed by an inmate earlier this month at William C. Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore has died as a result of his injuries, according to Alabama Department of Corrections officials.

Kenneth Bettis, 44, of Monroeville, died at 5:35 p.m. on Friday at the University of South Alabama Hospital in Mobile from injuries he received after he was stabbed by an inmate on Sept. 1.

"On behalf of the Alabama Department of Corrections, I extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to the Bettis' family during this tragic loss. 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," said Corrections Commissioner Jeff Dunn.

ADOC charged inmate Cleveland Cunningham with attempted murder after he reportedly assaulted and stabbed Bettis in retaliation for being denied an extra tray of food in the facility's dining hall during the noon meal. Officials say Cunningham's charges will now be upgraded to murder, and he will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Cunningham is serving a 20-year sentence on a 2013 first-degree robbery conviction out of Baldwin County.

Bettis served as a corrections officer at Holman Prison since 2009. He was also a military veteran, serving on active duty in Iraq with the Alabama Army National Guard.

"My thoughts and prayers are with the family of Officer Kenneth Bettis during this very difficult time," Gov. Robert Bentley said. "Officer Bettis was a dedicated civil servant taking on the difficult role of corrections officer. I want to thank Officer Bettis and his family for his years of service to the people of Alabama, through his work at Holman Correctional Facility and his time serving in the Alabama Army National Guard."

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