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The death row inmate’s family speaks out


ANDALUSIA, Ala. (WSFA) – A family is outraged after an inmate died inside the Donaldson Correctional Facility in Jefferson County.

The Alabama Department of Corrections reported that Denarieya Smith was serving a life sentence for attempted murder outside Covington County when he was beaten and stabbed by another inmate on October 1.

Hazel Bryant, president of the Covington County NAACP Chapter, described Smith’s death as unprovoked.

“The fact that[him]could have been murdered, supposedly in the protection of government safety, is also infuriating,” Bryant said.

The Smith family’s attorney, Joel Caldwell, said at a news conference Friday morning they were informed of his death via text message from a fellow inmate.

“The guards did not come and react in time, despite numerous attempts by inmates shouting for help, while DL (Denariyea) spilled blood on the floor,” Caldwell said.

The family said Smith indicated there was a problem inside the prison the last time they had contact with him.

“His cries for help fell on deaf ears,” Caldwell said. “There are too many unanswered questions at this point.”

The attorney mentioned Smith marking 32 deaths at Donaldson in 2022, calling it “deeply disturbing.”

Bryant added that the government should take a closer look at the prison system to ensure that inmates are being treated humanely.

Caldwell and other attorneys at the Birmingham-based Corey Watson Firm are reviewing prison violence convictions to determine whether state or federal courts will hear the case.

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