COLUMBUS COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — An inmate pled guilty Monday for stabbing a correctional officer at the Columbus County jail in 2017, according to District Attorney Jon David.
Keenan Jones pled guilty to attempted murder in Columbus County Superior Court and was sentenced to at least 22 years in prison.
Officer Graham, who had been employed as a correctional officer for 12 years at the time of the assault, was preparing paperwork before his shift began.
While seated at a desk in the Fir Dorm of Columbus Correctional, Graham noticed Jones approaching him with a shank. Jones lunged at Ofc. Graham, stabbing at his face and neck. Ofc. Graham was able to block several blows from Jones, but Jones still landed several stabs in the head and torso of Ofc. Graham with the blunt shank. Graham continued to fight off the attack of Jones and was eventually able to deploy his pepper spray into Jones’ face and activate the prison’s alarm system.
Multiple correctional officers responded to the alarm.
When they arrived in the Fir Dorm, Graham had pinned Jones down and was taken into custody.
The struggle between Graham and Jones lasted for about 5 minutes, and was likely gang related.
Ofc. Graham was transported by prison staff to Columbus Regional for treatment and was released later that same evening.
During his victim impact statement, Graham told Judge Carmical how he was unable to go back to work after this incident, and how he continues to struggle with the emotional consequences of the attack.
The prosecution of this case was made possible by the thorough investigation of the Columbus County Sheriff’s Office and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation.
This is a case which cried out for maximum justice and Mr. Jones received a harsh but appropriate sentence,” District Attorney Jon David said. “My office has a solemn responsibility to do our part to ensure a safe working environment for our partners in the Department of Corrections. The violent and unprovoked attack of a defenseless prison guard must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”