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Probe into inmate’s death reveals S.C. detention center’s cell doors don’t lock

Five people have been charged with murder and conspiracy for allegedly beating another inmate to death


Photo/Tracy Glantz via MCT

By Morgan Hughes
The State

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Five people have been charged with murder and conspiracy for allegedly beating to death another inmate at Richland County’s Alvin S. Glenn detention center, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott announced in a news conference Friday.

Antonius Randolph, 29, was arrested Jan. 21 on multiple charges of kidnapping, assault and battery and criminal sexual conduct, and booked into the Alvin S. Glenn detention center. Six days later, Randolph was found dead.

James Oxendine Jr., Jayun Harrison, Erick Stewart, Daylan Isreal and Devin Rowe, all inmates at the jail, were charged in Randolph’s killing. Randolph was dead for hours before he was found by jail staff, according to the sheriff’s department.

Around 8 p.m. Jan. 26, the five men entered Randolph’s cell and beat him to death, Lott said. The death “wasn’t immediate.”

“They tortured him and they killed him,” Lott said.

Richland County Coroner Naida Rutherford said Randolph died from his injuries in the early morning of Jan. 27, and she described the incident as a “very brutal attack.”

Randolph was not found by jail staff until 2:15 p.m. Jan. 27.

Two of the men charged in Randolph’s murder, Oxendine and Harrison, were already being held at Alvin S. Glenn on different murder charges, according to Lott.

Lott said none of the five charged in the murder were related to any of Randolph’s alleged victims.

An investigation into Randolph’s death revealed many cell doors at the detention center don’t lock, “allowing inmates to come and go from their cells,” the sheriff’s department reported.

In a statement following Lott’s conference, Richland County said of the cell doors being unlocked, “this is not a practice of the detention center. As identified by the Sheriff, certain detainees continue their alleged criminal activities, such as the making of homemade contraband and compromising security locks while in custody.”

The statement added that the County administration is “taking the necessary steps to improve the facility and reduce the detainees’ ability to commit these types of crimes.”

Using a search warrant at the jail on Jan. 27, the department found 17 homemade knives, along with 58 other contraband items, including cellphones and drugs, according to the department.

Randolph’s arrest came after authorities received reports for more than a year that a man was using an app to meet women online and then rob and sexually assault them. Five sexual assault and robbery cases were “solved” with Randolph’s arrest, Lott said during a news conference Jan. 23 announcing Randolph’s arrest.

At the time, Lott described Randolph as a “monster” and celebrated taking him off the streets.

“I stood up here and called him a monster. And I still think he’s a monster for what he did,” Lott said Friday. “It was bad ... what he had done, but it was also equally bad what happened to him.”

Speaking about Randolph’s alleged crimes, Lott said that after the Jan. 23 news conference, another victim came forward to identify Randolph as her attacker in a 2014 assault. Lott said he believes more victims may yet come forward.

Randolph is the fourth person detained at the jail to die in the last 12 months.

Demond Thompson died Jan. 17, two hours after being booked into the jail, according to a document from the state Department of Corrections. No further information was immediately available regarding Thompson’s death. The State has reached out to the Richland County Coroner’s Office and a spokesperson for Richland County.

Thirty-eight-year-old James Mitchell was found dead Dec. 7 at the detention center, but that’s all the information that has been shared about his death.

In February 2022, 27-year-old Lason Butler was found dead in his cell at the jail. An autopsy revealed he died of dehydration, and a report noted he had rat bites on his body. The Richland County Coroner deemed the death a homicide.

Local NAACP chapter president Oveta Glover held a news conference earlier Friday to share concerns about the conditions at the jail. She told media that the local NAACP chapter is working on a program to monitor activities at the jail, and the group has been in contact with Richland County officials regarding their concerns.

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