These undated photos provided by the South Carolina Department of Corrections shows, from top row from left, Corey Scott, Eddie Casey Gaskins, Raymond Angelo Scott and Damonte Rivera; bottom row from left, Michael Milledge, Cornelius McClary and Joshua Jenkins. The seven inmates were killed, and at least 17 prisoners wounded, in a riot at the Lee Correctional Institution on early Monday, April 16, 2018, in Bishopville, S.C. (South Carolina Department of Corrections via AP)

Inmate: Bodies stacked in 'macabre woodpile' in prison riot

April 16, 2018 - 11:22 pm

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina officials are blaming the prison riot that killed seven inmates on a turf war between gangs over territory, money and contraband items like cellphones.

Corrections Director Bryan Stirling said Monday that inmates armed with homemade knives fought each other for seven hours. Most of the slain were stabbed or slashed. The remainder appeared to have been beaten, Lee County Coroner Larry Logan said. Seventeen other prisoners were sent to hospitals for treatment.

No prison guards were hurt. Stirling says they followed protocol by backing out and asking for support. He says that once a special SWAT team entered, the inmates gave up peacefully.

Stirling says cellphones helped stir up the trouble. He urged the federal government to change a law and allow state institutions like his to block prisoners' cell signals.

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