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A prison guard was stabbed to death Thursday night by an inmate serving a life sentence, a GBI officer says.

The state Georgia Department of Corrections news release identified the victim as 46-year-old Larry Stell. He has worked for the state agency since 2001, the release says.

Todd Lowery, special agent in charge of the GBI's Eastman office, says the inmate used some kind of homemade knife to stab Stell.

He would not identify the inmate, whom he said has been moved to another prison. He also said the inmate has not been charged.

"Because the inmate is already in prison for life, thatgives us a little extra time to collect our facts," he said.

Lowery said the assault happened in the dormitory of the prison in Helena. He said they're reviewing video of the assault and interviewing more than 100 inmates and guards.

He said the assault happened sometime before 8 p.m. Thursday.

The Department of Corrections release says Stell died after being assaulted by an inmate, but does not give any further details. The release says the Department of Corrections will not comment further, because the incident is still under investigation.

Last year, the department said three inmates were injured at Telfair State after a fight over illegal cell phones.

State Commissioner Brian Owens said inmates, their friends and families often smuggle cell phones into prison and use them for criminal activities. He called the problem an "epidemic."


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