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BESSEMER, Ala. (WIAT) — An inmate serving a life sentence at the William E. Donaldson Correctional Facility in Bessemer was killed Monday afternoon.

Jefferson County Coroner’s Office confirmed that 32-year-old Kenneth Earl Ray II was found around 2:40 p.m. Monday after sustaining “sharp force injuries” during a reported assault by another inmate. He was pronounced dead at 3:05 p.m.

According to our news partners at, Ray’s death marks the 35th death at Donaldson for this year, significantly surpassing 2021’s total of 26. ADOC officials state that deaths at the prison have trended upward in the past few years, citing 17 inmate deaths in 2019 and 22 in 2020.

The Alabama Department of Corrections is investigating the death of Ray, who was serving a life sentence on a 2008 robbery conviction out of Mobile County, as a homicide.