Two inmates charged with killing four others at S. Carolina prison

SC law enforcement charged two inmates at a high-security prison with murder after four inmates were found dead. SLED agents were assisted in the investigation by Watts' office and the corrections department's police services division.

Kirkland Correctional Institution is a level 3 prison built in 1975 that houses the maximum security unit that serves the entire state of SC.

Of the four inmates, Ham was scheduled to be released the earliest from prison, next November.

Philip was in prison for the murder of his girlfriend, 26, and her 8-year-old daughter in Berkeley County. Officials also say Ham was also stabbed with a broomstick and King was assaulted with a broomstick until death.

Department of Corrections Director Bryan Stirling told The Associated Press, the inmates were found at Kirkland Correctional Institution in the capital city.

The warrants gave no reason for the attacks. Kelley was serving 15 years for assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature. The cause of death for the other two inmates was also strangulation, Watts said.

A few months before, two inmates serving life sentences took two nurses hostage and held them with homemade knives for about seven hours, according to CNN affiliate WACH. An investigation by the paper found that under-staffing at the state's prisons has led to risky conditions that affects not only the inmates and guards but also the public.

According to the Charleston Post Courier, Kirkland "is a specialized housing unit where the most risky and violent offenders within the state Department of Corrections are housed". He was scheduled for release in August 2020.

Philip and Simmons both were serving life sentences for unrelated double murders, both of a woman and her child.

  • Archie Newman