Inmate Layton Lester kills prison guard Robert Clark: Georgia officials

A Georgia prison guard was killed when an inmate – already in prison for murder – pulled out a “homemade weapon” and attacked the correctional officer from behind as he escorted him from a prison dining room, officials said.

Robert Clark was killed and another inmate who tried to intervene was injured Sunday after prisoner Layton Lester allegedly attacked the 42-year-old victim at Smith State Prison on Sunday, the Georgia Department of Corrections said said in a press release.

Officials said Clark was attacked with a “homemade weapon” as he removed the two occupants from the dining area. The other inmate, Marko Willingham, was injured while trying to help Clark.

Clark, who only started working at the prison in April, was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.

According to the Department of Corrections, Willingham remains hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.

“The whole [Georgia Department of Corrections] “The team mourns the loss of one of our loved ones and we collectively extend our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Officer Clark,” GDC Commissioner Tyrone Oliver said in a statement. “We will support them as they deal with this tragedy in the days, weeks and months ahead.”

Lester is expected to be charged with the attack and resulting death of Clark, as well as the attack on Willingham.

He has served time in prison for numerous crimes, including a 2007 murder, according to state prison records.

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp expressed his condolences about killing.

“Today we join the public safety community in mourning the loss of Correctional Officer Robert Clark,” he wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

“Please join us in praying for his family, loved ones and the Georgia Department of Corrections.”

Few other details were known about the fatal attack.


JACLYN DIAZ is a USTimeToday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. JACLYN DIAZ joined USTimeToday in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing

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