Man convicted of Round O murder charged in prison killings | News | The Press and Standard
by The Press and Standard | April 13, 2017 5:00 am
Last Updated: April 12, 2017 at 10:21 am
A Georgia man, who pled guilty to the murder of a Round O woman and her young son in 2010, now faces four counts of murder after a killing spree at a South Carolina high-security prison.
Denver Jordan Simmons, 35, and Jacob Theophilus Philip, 26, were arrested on four counts of murder in connection with the April 7 killings at the Kirkland Correction Institute in Richland County.
The charges were filed by agents of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division late on the evening of April 7.
Shortly after the deaths were discovered on April 7 at about 10:30 a.m., the South Carolina Department of Corrections asked SLED to take the lead on the investigation, in cooperation with the South Carolina Department of Corrections-Police Services Division.
According to the arrest warrants filed by SLED agents, portions of each of the four fatal attacks were caught on video by the prison’s security cameras and both men have confessed to the four killings.
Both men, listed as wardkeepers, a type of custodian at the prison, reportedly lured their victims into a cell and killed them.
All four men, John King, 52, Jason Kelley, 35, Jimmy Ham, 56, and William Scruggs, 44, were strangled to death. Ham was also reportedly stabbed with a broken broom handle and Kelley was also assaulted with a broom stick.
The arrest report gave no indication of a motive behind the deaths.
Simmons and Philip were already serving life sentences on multiple murder charges.
Philip was convicted in Berkeley County on Oct. 11, 2013 in the deaths of his 26-year-old girl friend and the woman’s eight-year-old daughter.
In September of 2010, Simmons signed a plea agreement that sent him to spend the rest of his life behind bars for the May, 1, 2007 slaying of Shelia Dodd and her 13-year-old son William of Round O.
Simmons pled guilty to charges of forgery, grand larceny, possession of a firearm while in commission of a violent crime and two counts of murder when he appeared in court in September of 2010.
Under a plea agreement that took the death penalty off the table, Simmons agreed to five-year prison terms on the forgery, grand larceny and firearm charges and life sentences on the two murder charges.