Two Inmates Charged After Death of Four Others

COLUMBIA, SC - (WLTX) -- Officials from the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division charged two inmates with murder after four inmates were found dead at Kirkland Correctional Institution in Columbia Friday. 

35-year-old Denver Simmons and 25-year-old Jacob Philip are each charged with four counts of murder. 

Kirkland is a maximum security prison. 52-year-old John King, 35-year-old Jason Kelley,  56-year-old Jimmy Ham and 44-year-old William Scruggs were found dead inside a dorm.

According to a release from SLED, the incident was partially captured on video. Simmons and Philip are accused of strangling King, Kelley, Scruggs and Ham until death. Officials also say Ham was also stabbed with a broomstick and King was assaulted with a broomstick until death. 

The Richland County Coroner reports that the men died between 10:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. at the facility on Broad River Road. An autopsy performed Saturday morning indicates the following:

  • Ham died from asphyxiation due to manual strangulation 
  • Scruggs died from asphyxiation due to strangulation and mechanical compression of the chest 
  • King died from asphyxiation due to strangulation with an electrical cord
  • Kelley died from asphyxiation due to strangulation.  

Simons was previously convicted of murder in 2007 and serving two life sentences. Philip was also previously convicted of murder in 2013 and serving two life sentences. They will face a minimum sentence of 30 years for each murder. 

Both men are currently held at the S.C. Department of Corrections. 

© 2018 WLTX-TV


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