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Georgia inmate had ‘personal relationship’ with worker he shot and killed, prison official says

GLENNVILLE, Ga. — A prisoner who a kitchen worker shot dead in a Georgia prison before fatally shooting himself had a personal relationship with the woman, a prison official said Monday.

Georgia Department of Corrections spokesperson Lori Benoit said in an emailed statement that the shooting early Sunday at Smith State Prison was an isolated incident and the investigation was ongoing. The statement did not say how inmate Jaydrekus Hart obtained a firearm.

The agency previously said Hart shot the worker in the jail’s kitchen around 4:30 a.m. Sunday and then killed himself. Hart appears to have left a suicide note, Benoit said.

Smith State Prison, which holds 1,500 inmates, is a maximum security prison that houses offenders who are considered violent or an escape risk.

Hart had been in prison since 2015 after being convicted in Carroll County of voluntary manslaughter and aggravated battery, online jail records show. Its earliest possible release date would have been 2043.

The slain kitchen worker, 24-year-old Aureon Shavea Grace of Statesboro, had been working at the prison since January, according to the corrections department. She worked at Aramark, a Philadelphia-based company that provides food services to prisons in Georgia, among other places.

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