Authorities: 4 inmates found dead at a South Carolina prison

Four incarcerated people were found dead Friday morning inside of a SC maximum security prison. Coroner Gary Watts confirmed he was investigating four deaths at the prison but wouldn't give any details about how the inmates died.

A few months before, two inmates serving life sentences took two nurses hostage and held them with homemade knifes for about seven hours, according to CNN affiliate WACH.

"I have asked the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division to lead this investigation", said Bryan Stirling, corrections department director.

Officials have released the identities of the four inmates found dead Friday morning in a housing unit at Kirkland Correctional Institution.

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

Kirkland houses the state's most-dangerous inmates.

Kelley was serving time for burglary charges, grand larceny, and assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature, all which occurred in Darlington County, an inmate report says. He was scheduled to be released from prison in August 2020.

The South Carolina Department of Corrections identified the men as Jason Kelley, 35; Jimmy Ham, 56; John King, 52; and William Scruggs, 44. The prison processes almost 15,000 offenders each year.

In 2016, three corrections officers were fired from Kirkland after they reportedly attempted to murder an inmate who was in their care.

  • Leroy Wright