On April 7, 2017 two prisoners at the Kirkland Corrections Institute in Columbia, SC, for no particular grudge or malice killed their fellow inmates William Scruggs, 44, Jimmy Ham, 56, Jason Kelley, 35, and John King, 52
The duo, each serving life without parole for earlier double-homicides chose to end their plight by earning the death penalty with piling on more murders while behind bars
Denver Simmons, 38, and Jacob Philip, 28, each had four additional life sentences added to the two they already were serving for the unrelated double murders
Simmons and Philip killed plot to kill fellow inmates in a bid to attract capital punishment backfired when the judge gave them additional life sentences at the insistence of their victims’ families
Prosecutors say the families of their latest victims objected to having their lives taken by execution
Simmons two years ago recalled how he and Philip plotted the inmate murders and predicted they wouldn’t get the death penalty they sought anyway
The fresh slew of life sentences came after the families of their latest victims objected to the pair being executed. The new sentences reinforce the earlier condition that neither would ever breathe air as a free man again.
Relatives of their dead fellow inmates William Scruggs, 44, Jimmy Ham, 56, Jason Kelley, 35, and John King, 52, asked prosecutors to not pursue the death penalty. .
‘The four families were unanimous in that they did not want to pursue it’, Deputy 5th Circuit Solicitor Dan Goldberg told The State after two brief, unpublicized hearings at the Richmond County courthouse on Thursday afternoon.
Both men had been each been convicted in the murders of a woman and her child in separate incidents and were already serving two life sentences each. After pleading guilty to the newest slayings, they each now have six life sentences.
Neither man would have been eligible for parole on the earlier double murder convictions.
Simmons and Philip both in for double-homicides, were housed at the Kirkland Correctional Institution [photo], a maximum security facility a few miles from the state capitol in Columbia at the time. They admitted to killing their fellow inmates
The murders of Scruggs, Ham, Kelley and King happened in 2017 at the Kirkland Correctional Institution, and in a series of phone calls in June of that year, Simmons recalled the chilling way he and Philip lured their latest victims into a jail cell with the promise of hospitality, including coffee and cookies.
They had nothing against the men. One of them was even a friend, Simmons admitted. Simmons even predicted their deadly scheme would probably not result in execution.
At the time, he described a twisted pact between both two men who had ‘a whole lot in common’ – including their willingness to kill again.
‘I’d always joke with him – from back in August and September and October of 2015 – that if we weren’t going to kill ourselves, that we could make a name for ourselves, so to speak, and get the death penalty’, Simmons said, referring to Philip.
‘The end of March of this year , he was willing to do it. So, we just planned to do it. And we did it.’
‘I did it for nothing’ Denver Simmons details strangling, beating four blockmates to death on Apr 7 The S.C. inmate and his accomplice Jacob Philip hid […]