A Quapaw man who was serving a life sentence died in his jail cell last week — less than an hour after the Oklahoma Department of Corrections transferred him to a minimum security prison.
Brian Keith Abernathy, 39, was pronounced dead at 2:30 p.m., March 14, at a Presbyterian Hospital in Oklahoma City.
Department of Corrections officials said Abernathy had just arrived at the Oklahoma State Reformatory in Granite, when he was attacked by several inmates in his cell.
“He hadn’t been there 30 minutes,” said Jerry Massie, a public relations officer at DOC. “He had been transferred from another DOC facility to the Granite facility on March 13. He hadn’t been in his cell long when, basically, he was beaten to death. He was tranported to the hospital where he (died) the next afternoon.”
Abernathy was sentenced to life in prison for the 1998 murder of Terry Don Shelton, 23, who was also a Quapaw resident.
Authorities say Abernathy threw Shelton from an Ottawa County bridge that spanned Spring River.
In August 2007, an imate serving a 20-year sentence on a Tulsa County rape conviction was killed and six others injured during a brawl at the Granite facility.
DOC officials say Donald R. Jones, Jr., 29, died of puncture wounds he received from an apparent homemade weapon.
In February of 2002, five inmates were stabbed with homemade weapons during a fight involving 16 inmates at the reformatory.
In June 2000, Sgt. Joe Allen Gamble, a corrections officer at the reformatory, died when his throat was slashed by an inmate while he was trying to help a fellow officer who had been stabbed several times — the other officer, William Callaway, sustained wounds to the scalp, neck, shoulder and back, but survived.
The Granite facility, which houses about 900 men, is considered a medium-security prison. It does, however, have some maximum and minimum-security housing.