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Prison guard stabbed to death by inmate

by Dara Kam | March 19th, 2012

Convicted murderer Richard Franklin is accused of killing a 24-year-old Columbia Correctional Institution Annex prison guard in Lake City late last night, according to the Florida Department of Corrections.

Franklin is serving a life sentence for his 1995 conviction of the shotgun death of a Bethune-Cookman student. Franklin, now 37, was 20 years old at the time of the crime.

Sgt. Ruben Thomas was stabbed in the neck with a handmade weapon around 10 p.m. last night, according to a DOC press release. Witnesses said Franklin killed him, according to the release. Correctional Officer William Brewer was also assaulted in the incident. Brewer hospitalized and released but requires further medical attention, the release said.

Gov. Rick Scott issued a statement expressing condolences for Ruben’s family and assuring that “Florida is a safe place to live.”

“I am saddened to learn of the tragic death of Sgt. Ruben Thomas last night at the Columbia Correctional Institute annex. My deepest condolences go to his family and fellow correctional officers in Columbia County and across Florida. A second officer, William Brewer, was also assaulted during the attack, and I pray for his quick recovery,” Scott said in the release.

“It is always troubling when members of our law enforcement community lose their lives in the line of duty. These brave men and women dedicate themselves each day to ensure Florida is a safe place to live. We all need to remember the sacrifices and heroic efforts of our officers.”

DOC Secretary Ken Tucker issued a statement calling Thomas a “solid and highly respected” worker.

“The Department is mourning the loss of Sgt. Ruben Thomas. Sgt. Thomas is described as a solid and highly respected member of the Agency and will be remembered in the highest regard. Our condolences go out to his family”, Tucker said. “His death and the wounding of Correctional Officer Brewer is another reminder about the danger Department personnel face every day on the job, and reminds us of the seriousness of our profession.”

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16 Responses to “Prison guard stabbed to death by inmate”

  1. Sherri Says:

    Sadly enough we have lost a good man at the hands of a felon. These men and women go to work behind a fence with no defenses. They are short staffed and underpaid for what they do. These inmates are not in cells as the public thinks they are. They are in an open population dorm with 100 or more other inmates and just a couple of correctional officers. It’s a miracle this doesn’t happen more often. There are some tough questions that need to be asked to the governors office about this…what was the staffing situation? How do you expect them to serve and protect when they are so short staffed they can’t cover a shift and yet they can’t hire anyone either? Do you honestly think the inmates don’t realize that THEY have the upper hand? It’s only going to get worse if something isn’t done.

  2. mike Says:

    My heart goes out to the family and friends of this officer. My daughter is an officer with DOC and she is always telling me the stories that goes on behind prison doors. I just pray like this ever happen again

  3. Joe Says:

    if we used the death penalty more often this sort of thing would be greatly reduced. What is the point of a life imprisonment? Originally prison was meant as a way to reform people who made mistakes. If they are serving life, there is no chance for reform. Just get it over with and use my tax money to pay for more guards at the prisons where the inmates are less likely to do this because they still have a chance of getting out. This was a pointless crime. My heart goes out to all who were affected by this senseless tragedy

  4. Dah Hombree Says:

    Just a month ago, our Governor in Florida closed 11 prisons. The prison where this guaqrd was killed, just received 400 additional inmates last week from the 11 closed prision. The prison has beds for only 400, so now the prison houses 800! No new guards were hired, so each guard has dou7ble the inmates to watch. Just last week I told my husband I was afraid something bad was going to happen. And it did. We can blame the killer, most definately. Burt he saw the reduction in manpower as a way to do what he wanted all along- kill a guard he either didn’t like had a beef with or that was standing in his way of freedom. I also hold Gov. Scott repsonsible. You can’t double the work load with dangerous criminals and not afford extra staff. Our sate of Florida is quicly going down the tube, thanks to such drastic measures as closing prisons without hiring extra staff.

  5. Milo Says:

    I spent eight years working for doc,i left my career because Rick Scotts attempts to save money at the expense of our safety was just too much for me to take….. i urge all of you out their to call your state rep and let them know any further cuts to doc is unacceptable .

  6. Teddy Bear Says:

    Let me just say this, I spent 25 years working for Fl. DOC and during that 25 years I seen so much violience in side those fences that i really don’t care to remember all of it. But I never understood the reasoning behind so few staff for so many offenders, If you ever fed chow at U C I in Raiford you understand what i mean. This offender that KILLED that young Officer don’t care about any human life so why should the courts care what happens to him.I feel and this is just my opinion. That offender should be Killed in the very same way. But don’t worry he will get a fine lawyer and he will continue to use the Florida court system and some will even say that poor man why are they making him go through all this.Well if he gets the death penalty it will be to good for him. Gov. Scott what if this would have been your son working at that facility..Think about it.

  7. Fred Says:

    It absolutely repulses me to see an hear Rick Scott try to cotten to the media over this tradgedy. I mean honestley, what did he expect when he cut the staffing levels and has refused to allow the facilities to hire more staff. This tragedy is on your hands Rick Scott, I hope you are pleased with the results of your vendetta with the DOC simply because you were not endorsed by the PBA and they ran some negative campain ad’s.

  8. John Bellovich Says:

    Unfortunately, if the officer had defended himself with violence and killed this POS then the present administration would have prosecuted him and he would have been serving time in federal prison.

  9. Joe Says:

    This is not a Guard is a Correctional Office a Law Enforcement Officer in the State of Florida reported needs to educate them self better . The Governor have no bussiness given condolences when him and Haricopolos cause lots of pain allready to the Correctional Officers and their families in Florida

  10. TJ Says:

    I am a Correctional Officer from Sydney Australia. On behalf of your Australian brothers in the law enforcement community, I send my deepest condolences to Sgt Thomas’ family and work colleagues. I would urge all of you to consider your own safety and not put yourselves into an unsafe position with inadequate staff numbers. Speak up now and refuse to work in unsafe areas. This is a tragedy that need not to have occurred and can be prevented from happening again. Stay safe.

  11. West Says:

    Im praying for Sgt. Thomas and his family along with all my brothers and sisters with in DOC. The DOC employees have been neglected for too many years yet with pride and courage we soldier on. Why? Gov. Scott is littorally tearing down the infrastructure of corrections and the administration does little to defend or protect us. How many more have to die before our needs are taken seriously. Why does the public we protect not stand up on our behaves? Why are viewed as calendars? We safe guard the public from SCUM yet our governor treats us C.O.’s as less. Why is it ok?

  12. Debbie Says:

    I agree with all the comments! Another senseless loss of life… Gov. Scott has GOT TO GO!!! He is an ignorant @#$%##@ for what he has subjected us to. All about money, not our safety! He has never been where we have been..seen the things we have seen..and “life sentence”..I agree with Joe,…what a joke.. here is a concept for Gov.Scott…You kill someone, you die too..that will save the taxpayer a boat load of money!

  13. Gail Says:

    I am sooo sorry for the loss of SGT Thomas. My thoughts are with him and his family. Maybe this will wake up the correctional system that Fla has. It is a very sad day that a death on a officer is the one to make people look at what the correctional system that has been put in place there. I do not live in Fla, but in the last year I have spent alot of time there, and has seen first hand how the system works. The person I am with is in that system, he was on of the ones that just arrived there from another prison. He was in a motorcycle accident 7 years ago, his wife and friend of 18 years passed from the accdent. He was found guilty and was given 15 years suspended with 15 years probation. He moved back to Mi to try to heal and take care of his famly. He violated his probation after 5 years of going to his probation officer. Fla came to Mi and took him back to Fla. where they gave him 15 years in prison. He is a very giving person. Now their 2 daughters have no mother or father, and are trying to heal with no help from their father. The state of Fla has never offered any theapy for any of them. There soultions is to throw their only parent in prion, where the state collects money for the inmates. The correctionl system does not care that inmates and officer are at risk.

  14. Regan Says:

    I am very saddened by what happened to the officers at that correctional institution and I am praying for their family and friends and praying that God gives them the strength that they need to carry on and if they just trust him and believe he will. I think that this crime was senseless as well and the person that committed this heinous crime should be punished. I would like to say as well that the love of my life just happens to be serving time at that same institution along with my uncle who was sentenced to 99 years they did not kill anybody and they are human beings just like you and I and they are definitely not SCUM so I would appreciate if people would not make comments like that because God created us all and God dont make junk or SCUM! My fiancee is there for a possession charge he is not a bad person he made some bad choices,but he is a not a bad person at all I love him with all of my being and I am concerned for his safety as well he means so much to me and I pray every night and day that my God keeps a hedge of protection around him, the other inmates, and officers as well! All that I am saying is this my suggestion is that they house all the murderers together at high custody facilities and instead of open bay dorms put them behind bars so that they can have more control over them and that way they can have controlled movement and only so many of them can move around at one time and have enough officers to watch over them! I am concerned about the officers safety and I am also concerned about the inmates, just because one person is heartless it does not mean that all of them are heartless just like the officers families love them and want to see them come home safely we love our loved ones that are locked away and we want to see them come home safely I mean lets be honest with ourselves and others we all have made mistakes some of us just did not get caught so lets not be so quick to talk down on others that made mistakes and got caught they are still just like you and I Gods creation! I made mistakes in my lifetime and I have been in a correctional institution as well and I am so far from SCUM I am child of the most high king GOD and he has did some wonderful things in my life and I am a new creature in Christ Jesus as well as a productive, tax-paying member of society because God changed me and he can and will change a lot of them! So lets not be so quick to judge others and take time to inventory ourselves! GOD BLESS AND KEEP ALL OF YOU!

  15. Bryan Says:

    As a fellow officer my prayers go out to Sgt. Thomas’ family. I work short staffed almost daily. It seems like everyday something else is taken away from us. How much longer can this go on. I would like to apologize to Florida for voting for Rick Scott. Lately as short staffed as we are I hug my kids just a little longer before I head off to work.

  16. Terrie Says:

    Remembering SGT Ruben Thomas

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