Crime & Courts

Inmate found dead at SC maximum-security prison died by strangulation, coroner says

An inmate at Broad River Correctional Institution was found dead Sunday.
An inmate at Broad River Correctional Institution was found dead Sunday. South Carolina Department of Corrections

The inmate who was found dead in his cell at a South Carolina maximum-security prison last weekend was strangled, the coroner’s office said Wednesday. 

Isaac Laird Starke, 52, was found unresponsive in his cell at Broad River Correctional Institution in Columbia on Sunday, officials have said. An autopsy revealed he died from asphyxiation due to ligature strangulation, Richland County Coroner Gary Watts announced Wednesday. 

Watts said he has not yet determined if Starke’s death was a homicide or a suicide. He would not say what was used to strangle Starke. 

Starke was serving time for 2012 convictions on charges of second-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor and third-degree criminal sexual conduct from Aiken County, according to the S.C. Department of Corrections. He was not eligible for parole and was scheduled to be released in 2026. 

The coroner’s office continues to investigate Starke’s death along with the Department of Corrections and the State Law Enforcement Division. 

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