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Georgia correctional officer charged with murder in death of state prison inmate

Carrie Teegardin and Danny Robbins, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on

Published in News & Features

ATLANTA — A Georgia correctional officer has been charged with murder in the death of a state prison inmate, a rare charge that adds a new dimension to the ongoing crisis related to violence and corruption within the Georgia Department of Corrections.

Lloyd Hopkins, a correctional officer at Augusta State Medical Prison, was charged with murder, aggravated assault and violation of oath of office in connection with the death of Roderick Hayes.

Two other inmates, Brendon Moore and Andy Ulysse, were charged with felony murder and aggravated assault in the case.

Hayes died Saturday, and Hopkins was immediately fired, according to the GDC.

The GDC said in a statement that Hayes’ death was the “result of an altercation.” It’s unclear what role Hopkins played in the death. The prison system said he was a “party to” the murder and assault.

Hopkins, 51, had worked as an officer at the prison in Groveton since 2021, according to the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council. He is being held without bond at the Columbia County jail, according to county records.

 

“The GDC maintains a zero-tolerance policy for individuals who choose to ignore their oath and jeopardize our non-negotiable mission of public safety,” said GDC spokesperson Lori Benoit in an email to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “The actions of this individual do not reflect the hundreds of officers who are committed each and every day to ensuring the safety of the public and the safe operations of our facilities.”

Benoit said Hayes’ body had been turned over to the coroner and will be sent to the medical examiner’s office at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to determine the official cause of death. The GDC declined to provide further details, saying an investigation is being conducted by the agency’s Office of Professional Standards.

Hayes was serving a 10-year prison sentence after pleading guilty in October 2019 to crimes that included sexual exploitation of a minor and cruelty to children in Fulton County. He was 25 at the time he was sentenced.

The murder charge against one of its own comes as the Department of Corrections is under scrutiny by the U.S. Department of Justice, which has been investigating violence and other problems within the prison system since 2021. The GDC is also facing scrutiny by a state Senate subcommittee and a contempt order in a long-running federal lawsuit related to conditions at its “supermax” facility: the Special Management Unit in Jackson.

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