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Dead Inmates Were Stacked Like "Woodpile" After South Carolina Prison Riot, Prisoner Says

The guards "never even attempted to render aid, nor quell the disturbance," an inmate claimed. 

By Gina Tron

Bodies of the prisoners who died in a South Carolina prison riot this week ended up stacked on top of each other on a sidewalk like a "macabre woodpile," an inmate said Tuesday.

An inmate the Lee Correctional Institution in Bishopville, speaking anonymously to the Associated Press, claimed that correctional officers didn't help any of the dying prisoners.

The guards "never even attempted to render aid, nor quell the disturbance," the inmate said. "They just sat in the control bubble, called the issue in, then sat on their collective asses."

A brawl broke out Sunday night at the maximum security lockup, apparently over a turf war involving money, cell phones and territory within the prison, officials said. It spread across three housing units and led to "multiple inmate-on-inmate altercations" until guards contained the chaos around 7 a.m. The riot left seven inmates dead and another 17 injured.

The inmate told the Associated Press the bodies of the dead were "literally stacked on top of each other, like some macabre woodpile." He claimed one man died while lying on a sidewalk, as the people who killed him taunted and laughed at him.

The fight involved handmade knives and most of the victims were stabbed or slashed, while others were beaten, Lee County Coroner Larry Logan said.

The slain inmates have been identified as Corey Scott, Eddie Casey Gaskins, Raymond Angelo Scott, Damonte Rivera, Michael Milledge, Cornelius McClary and Joshua Jenkin.

Corrections Director Bryan Stirling has defended the response to the riot, saying guards acted "as quickly as we could and went in as soon as we thought it was safe for our staff." Stirling said the injured inmates needed medical attention outside the prison, which made it harder to restore order there.

The Lee Correctional Institution is home to some of the most violent and longest-serving inmates in South Carolina, and a former warden recently called it the most dangerous prison in the state. The prison, which is about 50 miles east of the state capital Columbia, opened in 1993 and houses about 1,600 inmates.

[Photo: Getty Images]

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