South Carolina

Inmate died after fight at a Columbia prison, and group says SC could have prevented it

Damon Latroy Doyle was killed following a fight at Broad River Correctional Institution.
Damon Latroy Doyle was killed following a fight at Broad River Correctional Institution. South Carolina Department of Corrections

A man was killed Monday following a fight at a prison in Columbia, the South Carolina Department of Corrections (DOC) said.

The death was the result of an “inmate on inmate altercation,” DOC officials said on Twitter.

The prisoner killed in the fight was identified as 43-year-old Damon Latroy Doyle, according to prison records.

The fight took place Monday afternoon at Broad River Correctional Institution, according to the tweet.

Doyle was taken to a Richland County hospital with serious injuries, where he died, DOC tweeted.

Richland County Coroner Gary Watts told The State his office has been contacted about the inmate and confirmed one person has died.

In addition to the coroner, the death is being investigated by DOC police services and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, according to the tweet.

Broad River Correctional Institution is an all-male Level 3 facility, according to the DOC. Level 3 prisons in South Carolina “are high-security institutions designed primarily to house violent offenders with longer sentences, and inmates who exhibit behavioral problems,” the DOC’s description says.

Information on the number of inmates involved in the fight and on how long it took for prison personnel to discover the fatally injured man was not available.

The DOC declined to comment.

In addition to serving two life sentences for assault and battery with intent to kill, and kidnapping convictions, Doyle was also serving a 15-year sentence for a strong arm robbery conviction stemming from a 2001 crime in Charleston, prison records show.

He was never going to be eligible for parole.

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Doyle was transferred to Broad River Correctional Institution in April of 2018, where he worked as a wardkeeper’s assistant since last August, according to DOC records.

The American Civil Liberties Union of South Carolina (ACLU) issued a statement blaming DOC for the death, saying the state’s prison systems are “dangerously underfunded and understaffed.”

“Sadly, this death becomes one in a long line of deaths. ... SCDC and the state of South Carolina have failed to invest in the security upgrades that are needed to address the violent prison conditions that have been cultivated for decades,” ACLU spokesman Anwar Young said in the statement. “By neglecting its obligation to provide safe prisons, our state delivers unconstitutional punishment on incarcerated people.

“Incarcerated people understand that they must pay their debts to society. It is, however, their basic human right to do so in conditions that support their health, safety, and dignity.”

Take a look into SC's dark history of death row and how serial killer Donald "Pee Wee" Gaskins carried out a revenge killing of another inmate.

Noah Feit is a Real Time reporter with The State and McClatchy Carolinas Regional Team. The award-winning journalist has worked for multiple newspapers since starting his career in 1999.