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Fourth Prison Worker Dies After Inmate Escape Attempt

A fourth worker at an eastern North Carolina prison has died from injuries suffered in an inmate escape attempt last month. The Department of Public Safety says 31-year-old maintenance mechanic Geoffrey Howe died Thursday from injuries he received in the October 12 incident at Pasquotank Correctional Institution in Elizabeth City.  

Police say inmates set a fire inside the prison sewing plant to divert guards and planned to climb over the prison’s fences before being stopped. Corrections officers Justin Smith and Wendy Shannan also died from injuries received during the escape attempt, as did Veronica Darden, a manager in the sewing plant.  Several other prison workers were also injured. Four inmates face murder charges. 

Around the time of the escape attempt, Pasquotank Correctional Institution had about 1 in 4 correctional officer jobs that were unfilled. That’s according to Correction Department figures.