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2018 South Carolina Prison Riot, Four People Plead Guilty to Charges

Men accused of killing 7 inmates at a prison in South Carolina (Photo: WLTX)

5 years after a disturbance at the Lee jail in South Carolina left 7 prisoners dead, charges have been filed. (Photo: Post and Courier)

The guilty pleas of the four involved inmates in the SC prison riot

According to a published article from WIS 10 News, seven prisoners were killed and others were hurt in the bloodiest prison riot in the nation in more than 20 years—the history’s greatest South Carolina prison riot in 2018.

At the Sumter County Judicial Center on Thursday, the first batch of the more than 40 South Carolina inmates who face charges in connection with the tragic riot at Lee Correctional Institution in Bishopville in 2018 entered guilty pleas.

Director of the South Carolina Department of Corrections Bryan Stirling remarked, “It’s the beginning of the finality.”

On the evening of April 15, 2018, a confrontation between members of two different gangs held in the prison’s maximum security led to the start of the South Carolina prison riot.

From there, it expanded into other cell blocks as convicts used smuggled cell phones to communicate, according to law enforcement.

In the end, seven prisoners were killed and numerous others were injured after it took several hours to put an end to the South Carolina prison riot.

After more than two years of inquiry, the first accusations were brought in 2020, and more have been added since then.

According to Barney Giese the 2018 South Carolina prison riot, special prosecutor for the Third Circuit Solicitor’s Office, “the amount of evidence in the case — I’ve done this 42 years, and it’s one of the more complicated cases I’ve dealt with.”

Inmates who pleaded guilty involving the largest and deadliest prison riot in USA

According to a report from Count on News2, four guys entered guilty pleas for their involvement in the South Carolina prison riot during proceedings that lasted approximately an hour on Thursday morning.

Rahim Carter, Tyrone Lewis, and Arsenio Colclough, three of them, entered guilty pleas for drug possession, while Mike Smalls, the fourth, entered a guilty plea for conspiracy and second-degree mob assault and battery.

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Carter and Lewis, who are both still in prison, were given time that will run concurrently with their prior terms by Circuit Court Judge R. Ferrell Cothran.

Colclough, who was later freed from the Department of Corrections’ custody but is currently being held in the Sumter County Detention Facility on other charges, was given time equivalent to that which he is already credited with having served.

Smalls, who is also now incarcerated and who pleaded guilty to the group’s most serious crimes, was sentenced to further time in jail for his second-degree assault and battery by mob plea. In addition, if Smalls commits another violent crime, he may spend the rest of his life behind bars without the possibility of parole.

We simply want to ensure that justice is served to those involved in the South Carolina prison riot, Giese added. “That can take three months or ten months. Although sometimes it takes almost five to ten years, that is the goal.”

South Carolina Prison (Photo: South Carolina Public Radio)

Prosecutors in court said they suspect Smalls was part of a group that stabbed an inmate to death around 100 times. The other three prisoners who entered pleas on Thursday said their clients had weapons for protection but did not use them or even make an attempt to stop the violence.

Carter had already received a life term in prison, and additional prisoners accused of participating in the South Carolina prison riot may also receive life sentences.

Prosecutors claim that there will be more guilty pleas and perhaps a trial as well in line with the South Carolina prison riot.

A few prisoners are still being prosecuted for murder related to the South Carolina prison riot.

Giese claimed that although they considered applying for the death penalty for those prisoners, none of them met the requirements.

READ ALSO: Man sentenced to 45 years in prison for shooting death of co-worker

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