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Inmate stabbed to death at short-staffed N.C. prison

Prison inmates often make improvised knives like these, which were confiscated at Lanesboro Correctional Institution. On Friday morning, an inmate at Columbus Correctional Institution was stabbed to death.
Prison inmates often make improvised knives like these, which were confiscated at Lanesboro Correctional Institution. On Friday morning, an inmate at Columbus Correctional Institution was stabbed to death.

An inmate serving time for attempted murder was stabbed to death at an eastern North Carolina prison Friday morning.

Gregory Adams, Jr. , 35, was assaulted and killed shortly before 8 a.m. at Columbus Correctional Institution in Whiteville, about 55 miles west of Wilmington, according to a news release issued by the state Department of Public Safety.

Gregory Adams.jpeg
Inmate Gregory Adams

Adams had been stabbed in the neck area, the release said. Authorities have not yet said who is suspected of stabbing him, but they believe it was an inmate, a DPS spokesman said.

Officials did not say what kind of weapon was used. But prison inmates often make home-made knives - known as shanks - from pieces of metal, plastic and wood.

Adams was convicted in 2015 of attempted first-degree murder in connection with the August 2012 shooting of Ra’Quan Daniels, a 15-year-old neighbor, according to WECT News.

Adams’ projected release date was Nov. 11, 2032.

Columbus Correctional, like many of North Carolina’s prisons, has struggled to fill its officer positions. In October, about 14 percent of the officer positions there were vacant, according to DPS data. That doesn’t take into account positions left vacant by leaves of absence. Vacancy rates that high make it easier for inmates to carry out such attacks, experts say.

The medium-security prison is currently on lockdown.

The Columbus County Sheriff’s Department and the SBI are investigating the incident. DPS is cooperating with law enforcement and will seek criminal prosecution against any inmate involved in the death, according to the news release.

At Lee Correctional Institution, in South Carolina, inmates armed with shanks rioted for more than seven hours on April 15, leaving seven prisoners dead.

North Carolina’s new prisons chief Reuben Young told the Observer he wants stiffer criminal penalties for inmates who assault correctional officers. The proposal comes after attacks at Bertie and Pasquotank prisons killed five employees in 2017.

Alexander: 704-358-5060; @amesalex
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