South Carolina’s prison agency is investigating after a convicted murderer was killed in a prison “incident” last week.
The state Department of Corrections (SCDC) has confirmed 35-year-old Ae Kingratsaiphon died at the Lee Correctional Institution outside Bishopville on Thursday. The news was first reported by the Charleston Post & Courier. Another inmate was hospitalized.
The agency is releasing very little information on what happened, including if there are any suspects in the death. SCDC’s internal police are working the case before it will be turned over to the State Law Enforcement Division.
Kingratsaiphon had been serving a life sentence since 1999 for a murder in Aiken. His inmate records indicate repeated discipline problems during his time at the state’s maximum-security prison. He had lost his phone, television and visitation privileges for at least seven months in January after he was cited for possessing a weapon at the prison.
Lee Correctional houses a large percentage of South Carolina’s most violent inmates. As a result, riots and other incidents occur more often at what is considered the state’s most dangerous prison. Last year, a guard was stabbed and six others were injured during a riot that took correctional officers several hours to end. In 2012, officers had to blow open a door and storm a prison wing to end a six-hour hostage situation.