Corrections officer Robert Clark killed in line of duty; attacked by inmate at Smith State Prison


ATLANTA – An inmate at Smith State Prison in Glennville has been charged with killing a correctional officer who was escorting him from the dining hall.

Correctional Officer Robert Clark, 42, was assaulted from behind with a homemade weapon Sunday as he was escorting inmates Layton Lester and Marko Willingham, according to a news release from the Georgia Department of Corrections.

Willingham, who stepped in to help Officer Clark, also was assaulted. Both were transported to local hospitals, where Clark died of his wounds and Willingham remains with non-life threatening injuries.

“The entire GDC team is mourning the loss of one of our own, and we collectively express our deepest condolences to Officer Clark’s family and friends,” state Commissioner of Corrections Tyrone Oliver said Sunday. “We will support them as they navigate this tragedy over the coming days, weeks and months.”

“Today, we join the public safety community in mourning the loss of Corrections Officer Robert Clark,” Gov. Brian Kemp added. “Please join us in praying for his family, loved ones, and the Georgia Department of Corrections at this time.”

Clark was new to the corrections agency, having just joined the department at Smith State Prison in April.

Lester will be charged in the assault and resulting death of Officer Clark, as well as the assault of inmate Willingham.

Lester is serving a life sentence for a murder conviction stemming from a 2007 killing and armed robbery in Tift County, the Associated Press reported.