RIDGELAND, S.C. (Aug. 4, 2023) – A former prisoner at the Ridgeland Correctional Institute has been convicted of murdering a fellow inmate.
Benjamin Walter “Animal” Dubois III, 39, was found guilty Friday in Jasper County General Sessions Court for the 2017 stabbing death of Jerry Douglas Holmes. Dubois, already serving 10 years for voluntary manslaughter and second-degree assault and battery in connection with a 2012 offense in Berkeley County, was sentenced to life without parole.
“This killing was savage and premeditated,” said Reed Evans of the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office, who prosecuted the case. “Mr. Dubois clearly is not suited for the outside world, and fortunately, he will spend the rest of his years in prison.”
Before the trial, Evans notified the defense that because of Dubois’ previous voluntary manslaughter conviction, he would be subject to life without parole. South Carolina’s “three-strikes law” makes that sentence mandatory for defendants convicted of two “most serious” offenses or any combination of three “serious” or “most serious” offenses. Both murder and voluntary manslaughter are considered “most serious” offenses.
Evans called 11 witnesses during four days of testimony at the Jasper County Courthouse. They included a pathologist, DNA expert and Dubois’ fellow inmates.
On June 22, 2017, Holmes was found unresponsive in his blood-soaked cell. An autopsy determined he was stabbed in the neck with a homemade weapon. He also suffered more than 80 additional wounds. Investigators recovered several weapons from a trash can near Holmes’ cell. They had been doused with bleach.
Dubois was seen carrying a homemade icepick in his waistband and entering Holmes’ cell just before the inmate’s death. Other inmates reported hearing screams from Holmes’ cell, and Dubois was seen covered in blood and walking toward the cellblock shower.
“For the corrections system to serve its purpose, inmates must be able to serve their time in an environment in which order and justice reign over chaos and violence,” Solicitor Duffie Stone said. “This prosecution and this verdict help bring that about.”
Dubois’ criminal history also includes convictions for grand larceny, check fraud and breaking into motor vehicles. He racked up at least 16 disciplinary sanctions while in the S.C. Department of Corrections, for offenses ranging from possession of contraband to threatening and striking prison employees.
Circuit Court Judge Carmen T. Mullen presided over the trial.
Evans is a member of the Career Criminal Unit, which prosecutes the circuit’s most violent and habitual offenders. That team has earned convictions against 458 of the 501 defendants it has prosecuted since its formation in 2009. The life sentence for Dubois was the 56th secured by the Career Criminal Unit.
Benjamin Walter “Animal” Dubois III