by Jon Melegrito | January 26, 2012
Sgt. Barbara Ester
Sgt. Barbara Ester was simply doing her job Friday morning last week, responding to a report that an inmate had contraband items. That was her duty as a property officer at the East Arkansas Regional Unit. But when she attempted to investigate, the inmate stabbed her with a sharp object. Sergeant Ester was rushed to the infirmary and later transported by helicopter to a hospital where she died. She was 47 years old.
A founding member of Local 2899 (Arkansas Council 38), Ester was a 12-year veteran of the facility. Her husband and co-worker, Lathen Ester, said that his wife of six years was loved by everybody who knew her. “She was a mother to a lot of the younger inmates coming in who didn’t have the mother figure in their lives. She just cared about people.”
Local 2899 Pres. Willie Robinson asked for prayers for her family and fellow corrections officers. “Sister Ester went to work every day knowing she may not come home alive,” Robinson said. “Yet she went about her job with a great sense of pride, because she cared. She will be greatly missed by our AFSCME family.”
The alleged killer has been in jail since 2001, serving a sentence for first degree murder. He was immediately moved to a maximum security wing at the prison. Corrections officials say Ester’s killing is the first death of a corrections officer at the hands of an inmate since 1995.
Funeral services will be held at noon on Saturday at the Lee High School Auditorium in Marianna.