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Correctional Officer Darla Kay Lathrem | Florida Department of Corrections, Florida Florida Department of Corrections, Florida

Correctional Officer

Darla Kay Lathrem

Florida Department of Corrections, Florida

End of Watch: Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Bio & Incident Details

Age: 38

Tour: 1 year

Badge # 00443

Cause: Assault

Weapon: Blunt object; Hammer

Offender: Sentenced to death

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Officer Darla Lathrem was killed as she supervised five inmates on a construction detail inside the Charlotte Correctional Institution.

She was assaulted by three of the inmates as they made an attempt to escape. The inmates were assisting with the building of a new dormitory for the maximum security prison and had access to tools such as hammers and screwdrivers; they attacker her with a five pound sledge hammer.

Two of the inmates were attacked by the other three when they refused to participate in the escape attempt. One of the victim inmates died as a result of his injuries. Two of the escaping inmates were captured between the facility and the inner perimeter fence. The third was caught between the inner and outer perimeter fences. The inmate that killed Officer Lathrem was sentenced to death on March 31st, 2006. The inmate 'mastermind' of the escape was convicted of her murder on June 23rd, 2006 and sentenced to death on August 18th, 2006. The third inmate had agreed to cooperate in exchange for a life sentence, but the judge rejected his guilty plea because of concerns about his mental competence.

Officer Lathrem's death was the first corrections officer fatality at the facility. Additionally, she was the first female corrections officer to be killed in the line of duty in Florida. She had been with the Florida Department of Corrections for one year.

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Most Recent Reflection

Mrs. Bruggeling,
I'm so sorry that its taken soo long to get back to you. I have been out of the correctional business since 2006....I worked with Darla at Charlotte. She was a friend and fellow Christian and I really looked up to her. She was a God fearing woman and looking back, I could say that I loved her like a sister. As the sniper on the hostage recue team, I was among the first to be recalled back to the institution. We found her shortly thereafter. I thank The Good Lord that I had combat experience because I saw her there, and it still drove me to my knees. The sad thing is that I had extensive experience of the inmate that did all this. I had him out of his cell every night to clean up....hindsight....
May he meet with the defiler as sure as Darla met with our savior!

Florida Department of Corrections
March 2, 2016


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