Third Murder in 10 Days, Deadly Violence Continues Inside Alabama Prisons

Another man has been murdered at William E. Donaldson Correctional Facility near Birmingham, Alabama.
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Photos: EJI

Another man has been murdered at William E. Donaldson Correctional Facility near Birmingham, Alabama.

William Jennings, 49, was found unresponsive in his cell in a segregation housing unit on Tuesday with blunt force trauma injuries. He died in the prison infirmary a few hours later.

Mr. Jennings is the third person killed at Donaldson in the past 10 days.

Barry Gardner, 33, was stabbed to death in a dormitory at the prison on February 22.

Victor Russo, 60, died on February 25, two days after he was found unresponsive in a segregation cell. The Alabama Department of Corrections told reporters that Mr. Russo’s death “is not being investigated as a homicide at this time”—despite the coroner’s report that Mr. Russo was found in his cell with “apparent blunt force trauma” injuries. EJI received multiple reports that Mr. Russo had been struck repeatedly in the head by a senior correctional officer at the prison days before he collapsed.

William Jennings was killed in a “segregated” unit. According to ADOC regulations, segregation or restricted housing units are intended to be the most secure areas of a prison and should have the highest levels of supervision.

But multiple homicides have been documented in these units at Donaldson, including the death of David Franklin, 31, who died on February 9, 2021, after he was found unresponsive in a segregation cell at Donaldson. His death certificate stated that his cause of death was homicide by asphyxiation.

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