Inmate accused of killing Arkansas guard apologizes in court

Tramell MacKenzie Hunter, center, appears in court Monday, Dec. 19, 2016, in Texarkana, Ark. Hunter is accused of killing correction officer Lisa Maudlin Sunday at the Miller County jail. (Evan Lewis/The Texarkana Gazette via AP)

TEXARKANA, Ark. (AP) – An inmate accused of killing a guard at an Arkansas jail apologized in court Monday during his first appearance on preliminary charges of capital murder and battery.

Tramell MacKenzie Hunter is accused of killing correction officer Lisa Mauldin and injuring another officer in an attack Sunday at the Miller County jail in Texarkana.

“I just want to apologize to everyone for what happened,” Hunter said at the end of his initial appearance before District Judge Wren Autrey, The Texarkana Gazette reported. “I just felt like she was messing with my life.”

Autrey said Hunter will be transferred to a maximum security prison.

Hunter allegedly attacked Mauldin, 47, in the kitchen area of the jail about 1 p.m. Sunday. Correctional Officer Demaris Allen, 35, was also attacked. Allen’s injuries are reportedly severe, but officials say she is expected to recover.

Hunter signed paperwork at Monday’s hearing with hands marred with cuts, bandages and stitches, The Texarkana Gazette reported.

Mauldin is the fourth correctional officer to be killed this year in an incident involving an inmate, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page, a nonprofit organization that tracks law enforcement deaths. In September, an inmate fatally stabbed an officer at a prison in Alabama, and in July, a correctional officer was attacked and killed by an inmate in Abilene, Texas. In Pennsylvania, a corrections officer and an inmate who were scuffling smashed through an elevator door and fell to their deaths in July.

Hunter pleaded guilty in 2011 to aggravated robbery and domestic battery in Pulaski County as part of a plea agreement, which includes a 15-year sentence, according to the Arkansas Department of Corrections website.

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