By Adam W. Pittman on October 14, 2022
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Cory Watson, a nationally distinguished personal injury firm, has been retained by the family of Denarieya “DL” Smith to investigate his death on Oct. 1, 2022, inside the Donaldson Correctional Facility in Bessemer.
In the early hours of Saturday, Oct. 1, DL Smith was brutally beaten and stabbed by a fellow inmate. The other inmates screamed and shouted for help because Smith became unresponsive and was bleeding on the floor. Despite these many pleas for help, prison guards failed to respond and Smith died from his wounds. His death is being investigated as a homicide by the Alabama Department of Corrections Law Enforcement Services Division.
The number of inmates who have died within the Donaldson Correctional Facility walls is deeply disturbing – DL is one of 32 deaths at the facility in 2022.
The following statement is issued on behalf of his family:
We are heartbroken following the tragic and entirely unnecessary death of DL. Not only did the guards and staff at Donaldson Correctional Facility fail to protect DL from this brutal beating by an inmate, they also ignored the many calls for help to save DL’s life. There are far too many questions that remain unanswered at this point.
DL was given a sentence, but his sentence was not death. At the time of his sentencing, he was truly remorseful and working to better himself. Often, DL would call home and tell us to pass on a simple message to the young people in our community: prison is not where you want to be.
People behind bars are still people. DL deserved to be treated with a certain level of respect and decency, and to have a reasonable level of protection. That was not the case in this tragic incident, and as a result, DL is dead.
Many of us are hurting, and we are grateful for those who are grieving and praying with us. We remain patient as our attorneys seek answers and accountability through the justice system.
The Cory Watson civil rights team is examining all circumstances and events surrounding the death of Denarieya Smith.
“We will investigate and intend to hold Donaldson Correctional Facility accountable in pursuing justice for DL’s family,” said Rick DiGiorgio, lead attorney on the case.
The family requests privacy throughout this investigation and ask that you direct all inquiries to their attorneys.
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Cory Watson Attorneys is a nationally recognized personal injury law firm with offices in Birmingham, Alabama; Memphis and Nashville, Tennessee. The firm has recovered more than $3 billion for clients nationwide. Cory Watson is frequently at the forefront of major class actions and multidistrict litigations involving pharmaceuticals and product liability and are often appointed to leadership positions in national cases. Firm practice areas include Personal Injury, Product Liability, Dangerous Pharmaceuticals, Defective Medical Devices, and Environmental/Toxic Torts. To learn more, visit www.CoryWatson.com.