April 8 (UPI) — South Carolina law enforcement charged two inmates at a high-security prison with murder after four inmates were found dead.
Denver Simmons, 35, and Jacob Phillip, 25, both already serving life sentences for murder, were charged with four counts of murder on Saturday following the deaths of four inmates at Kirkland Correctional Institution in Columbia.
The four inmates — Jason Kelley, 35; Jimmy Ham, 56; John King, 52; and William Scruggs, 44 — were found dead in a cell at the maximum security unit at about 10:35 a.m. on Friday.
Warrants for the arrests of Simmons and Philip allege the two confessed to luring the other four inmates into a cell and attacking them.
Simmons and Philip are accused of strangling each inmate. Police said Simmons beat and stabbed Ham with a broomstick while Philip strangled him from behind.
South Carolina Department of Corrections Director Bryan Stirling said the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division will lead the investigation along with the Richland County Coroner’s Office and SCDC Police Services Division.
Kirkland Correctional Institution is a level 3 prison that houses inmates considered to be the most dangerous and violent offenders sentenced in the state.