Alabama Inmate Serving 25-Year Sentence for Montgomery County Murder Dies of COVID-19

James Cowan

A 74-year-old inmate serving a 25-year sentence for murder out of Montgomery County passed away on August 1. James Cowan was serving his sentence at St. Clair Correctional Facility (St. Clair) in Springville.

Cowan, who was housed in St. Clair’s infirmary, was transferred to a local hospital for additional care related to multiple severe underlying medical conditions. He was tested for COVID-19 upon admission to the hospital on July 24 and returned a positive test result on July 26. He remained under the care of the local hospital until his passing.


The ADOC has confirmed that eight (8) inmates have tested positive for COVID-19 as of July 31:

Bullock Correctional Facility (Union Springs) – one (1) inmate
Draper Quarantine Intake Facility (Elmore) – two (2) inmates
Elmore Correctional Facility (Elmore) – one (1) inmate
St. Clair – three (3) inmates
Staton Correctional Facility (Elmore) – one (1) inmate

Newly identified positive cases include inmates who are symptomatic and inmates who are asymptomatic. All existing quarantine protocols held in-place or newly implemented as recommended by the ADOC’s contracted State Medical Director are being maintained at each facility where newly identified positive inmates are currently housed.

Two hundred fifteen (215) total cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed among our inmate population, fifty-eight (58) of which remain active.


The Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) was informed via self-reporting that six (6) staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 as of 12:00 p.m. on August 3:

Birmingham Community Based Facility/Community Work Center (Birmingham) – one (1) staff member
Donaldson Correctional Facility (Bessemer) – one (1) staff member
Holman Correctional Facility (Atmore) – one (1) staff member
Kilby Correctional Facility (Montgomery) – one (1) staff member
Limestone Correctional Facility (Harvest) – one (1) staff member
Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women (Wetumpka) – one (1) staff member

These individuals promptly self-quarantined under the direction of their healthcare provider.

The ADOC’s Office of Health Services (OHS) has initiated investigations to determine which, if any, ADOC inmates or employees may have had direct, prolonged exposure to these staff members. Upon completing the appropriate due diligence, OHS will advise any staff with direct exposure to contact their healthcare providers and self-quarantine as advised.

One hundred thirty-two (132) COVID-19 cases among ADOC staff and contracted staff remain active. One hundred seventy-five (175) staff members who previously self-reported a positive test have been cleared by medical providers to return to work.

Categories: Coronavirus, News