Lowcountry murderers charged for the deaths of 4 South Carolina inmates

FILE

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)–SLED has charged two men with the deaths of four inmates in a South Carolina prison.

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

Corrections officials say the four men were found dead in a down at Kirkland Correctional Institution, a maximum security federal prison in Columbia.

According to an affidavit, Simmons confessed that he and Philip murdered the inmates. It says they lured the inmates into the cell where they were strangled and beaten with a broomstick. Some of the attacks were caught on camera.

Autopsies show the men were killed within 30 minutes of each other. The coroner says all four inmates died between 10 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. on Friday.

The inmates have been identified as John King, Jason Kelley, William Scruggs, and Jimmy Ham. King, Kelley, and Scruggs were all arrested in the upstate, and Ham was arrested in the Midlands on assault, grand larceny and burglary charges.

Denver Simmons was incarcerated after he was arrested in Colleton County in  2007. He is charged for the deaths of a mother and her 13-year-old son. He is currently in prison serving two life sentences on murder charges. He is also sentenced to five years for forgery, grand larceny and firearms charges.

Prison records show Simmons has had 3 prior disciplinary infractions during his time in state prison. The infractions include being out of place and refusing to obey orders.

Jacob Philip was incarcerated after he was arrested in Berkeley County in 2013. He is charged for the death of Ashley Kaney and her 8-year-old daughter. He is currently serving two life sentences on murder charges.

According to records Philip has had no previous disciplinary issues while in state prison.

Both men are charged with four counts of murder.

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