Suspects in Murder of Inmates Killed Women, Children

The 2 suspects are each serving life sentences
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 8, 2017 11:50 AM CDT
2 Inmates Charged With Killing 4 in Max-Security Prison
The four inmates found dead at a South Carolina maximum-security prison were strangled to death by two other inmates serving life sentences for murdering women and children, according to warrants.   (Mugshots)

Two convicts each serving a life sentence for killing a mother and her child have been charged with murder in the strangulation deaths of four inmates inside a South Carolina prison, the AP reports. Denver Simmons and Jacob Philip lured each of the four inmates into a cell at Kirkland Correctional Institution in Columbia on Friday morning, then worked together to attack and choke them, according to arrest warrants released early Saturday. Two of the inmates were also beaten or stabbed with a broken broomstick, according to the warrants released by State Law Enforcement Division agents. The warrants gave no reason for the attacks and did not indicate how long it took the prisoners to kill their fellow inmates.

Warrants did say there is video of the killings and the men confessed to investigators. Simmons, 35, has been behind bars since his 2007 arrest on charges he killed a woman he knew, took her debit card and ate pizza for lunch, then got her 13-year-old son from school and killed him too. Philip, 25, has been in prison since 2013. Authorities said he strangled his girlfriend and her 8-year-old daughter. Prison records show the four inmates killed were considered minimum security risks. They were identified as John King, 52; Jason Kelley, 35; Jimmy Ham, 56; and William Scruggs, 44. All were scheduled for release in the next three years, except for Scruggs, who was serving a life sentence for murder. (More inmate deaths stories.)

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