Corrections Officer Kenneth Bettis.jpg
Corrections Officer Kenneth Bettis
Alabama Department of Corrections
A corrections officer and decorated veteran has died after he was assaulted and stabbed by an inmate earlier this month, Alabama Department of Corrections announced.
Kenneth Bettis, 44, of Monroeville, succumbed to his injuries at 5:35 p.m. on Friday at the University of South Alabama Hospital in Mobile. Officials said family members were at Bettis' bedside when he passed away. They are receiving emotional support from ADOC's Critical Incident Stress Management Team and chaplains.
Inmate Cleveland Cunningham stabbed Bettis at the dining hall in Atmore's William C. Holman Correctional Facility on Sept. 1. Prison officials report Cunningham stabbed Bettis in retaliation for being denied an extra tray of food during the afternoon meal.
Bettis has been a corrections officer at Holman since 2009. Corrections Commission Jeff Dunn extended the department's condolences to Bettis' family.
"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," Dunn said.
Cunningham was charged with attempted murder after he assaulted the officer. That charge will be upgraded to murder, officials said. The inmate was sentenced to 20 years for a 2013 first-degree robbery charge out of Baldwin County.
Along with being a husband and a father of three, Bettis was also a veteran. He served on active duty in Iraq with the Alabama Army National Guard. He has received the Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal and Southwest Asia Service Medal with Bronze Service Star.
Gov. Robert Bentley expressed his gratitude for Bettis' service in a statement.
"My thoughts and prayers are with the family of Officer Kenneth Bettis during this very difficult time," 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."