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Richard Franklin’

Prison guard stabbed to death by inmate

Monday, March 19th, 2012 by Dara Kam

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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