Corrections officer, two others charged in death of inmate at Elmore Correctional Facility

By: - July 27, 2023 6:01 pm
The American flag behind a chain link fence

The American flag flying at Holman Correctional Facility on Oct. 22, 2019 (FIle)

A corrections officer working for the Alabama Department of Corrections, along with two other individuals incarcerated at Elmore Correctional Facility have been charged with murder in the death of another inmate.

DOC said that Rubyn James Murray, 38, died in a hospital after being involved in an altercation in the prison on Wednesday. Correctional Sgt. Demarcus Sanders, Fredrick Gooden and Stefranio Hampton have been charged with murder related to his death.

Sanders resigned from the department and is currently being held at Elmore County Detention Facility without bond, according to DOC. Gooden and Hampton remain in custody awaiting potential additional charges. Court documents were not available for the three men early Thursday evening.


According to ADOC, the altercation involved Murray and a corrections officer outside a dorm. Murray and the officer were injured, and Murray was taken to an area to be transported to another health care unit.

Gooden and Hampton, gained access to the holding area, which DOC said was a violation of department policy.

Murray was later found unresponsive and was then transported to the Staton Health Care Unit, an emergency care unit. He was later taken to an area hospital for emergency treatment, but medical staff were unable to revive him.

ADOC stated in the release it has reached out to the FBI—Mobile Field Office and the Elmore County District Attorney’s Office about the incident.

The Alabama Department of Corrections has faced a surge of violence in prisons in recent years. The U.S. Department of Justice sued DOC over the violence in 2020, saying physical and sexual violence in Alabama’s prisons, detailed in two reports in 2019 and 2020, violate prisoners Eighth Amendment protections against cruel and unusual punishment.

Murray was serving a 20-year sentence for first degree robbery out of Montgomery County, stemming from a 2004 theft of $125 from a convenience store. According to Appleseed Researcher Eddie Burkhalter, Murray already served 19 years of his sentence. The Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles denied him parole back in February of 2021.

Gooden, 60 years old, is serving a 30-year sentence for theft of property in the second degree out of Jefferson County, while Hampton, 35 years old, is serving a life sentence for first degree robbery out of Montgomery County.

Carla Crowder, executive director of Alabama Appleseed, said in a statement Thursday that Murray’s death shows that “any sentence in the Alabama Department of Corrections can be a death sentence.”

“Rubyn Murray was convicted of taking $125,” the statement said. “He injured no one. He served nearly 20 years in prison and now he’s dead. The beatings and abuse have been ongoing at Elmore for almost a decade and the ADOC has failed to stop this.” Appleseed wrote about the incident in the organization’s blog post.

This, according to the post, is one of a series of incidents where corrections officers have been charged in relation to inmates dying in prison.

Sgt. Ulysses Oliver Jr. was sentenced last year to 30 months in federal prison for the 2019 assault of two incarcerated persons at Elmore Correctional Facility.

Also in 2022, Correctional Officer Eli White was caught on video beating an incarcerated man on a prison rooftop at Elmore. White was suspended while Corrections investigated the incident and later resigned.


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Ralph Chapoco
Ralph Chapoco

Ralph Chapoco covers state politics as a senior reporter for States Newsroom. His main responsibility is the criminal justice system in Alabama.