Fighting broke out late Sunday in a dormitory at Lee Correctional Institution in Bishopville, about 40 miles east of Columbia, the state capital, in what officials said was probably a dispute over money, territory and contraband. Inmates soon became embroiled in altercations in two other dorms, and it took authorities seven hours to regain control of the prison.
Most of the slain inmates were stabbed or slashed with homemade knives, Lee County Coroner Larry Logan said Monday.
“They used whatever they had, the same thing that you find at any jail shanks and whatever they can,” Logan said. “They can take anything and make a weapon out of it and do very, very bad harm to people.”