14th Circuit Solicitor's Office​

Allendale, Beaufort, Colleton, Hampton and Jasper counties​

Ridgeland Correctional inmate sentenced for killing cellmate

Ridgeland Correctional Institute jail cell where inmate Michael Edwards was found strangled in 2019. Cellmate Jeffrey Bryan Henderson pleaded guilty to the killing in August 2023.

RIDGELAND, S.C. (Aug. 11, 2023) – A Ridgeland Correctional Institute inmate, already serving 15 years for an array of violent crimes, was sentenced to three additional decades in prison after strangling his cellmate and attempting to hide his body.

Jeffrey Bryan Henderson, 37, pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter Friday in Jasper County General Sessions Court. He admitted to the 2019 strangling death of Michael Edwards of Summerville and was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

“If inmates are to be reformed and our communities protected for the long term, lawlessness such as Mr. Henderson’s cannot stand,” said 14th Circuit Assistant Solicitor Trasi Campbell, who prosecuted the case. “Even in prison, justice must reign.”

Career Criminal Unit prosecutor Trasi Campbell

Edwards was serving a 10-year sentence for armed robbery at the time of his death, and his projected release date was in 2023. He was last seen alive by prison staff at 3 a.m. Oct. 8, 2019, and discovered missing at about 12:30 p.m. that day. Guards found him dead under the bunk bed in his cell.

Henderson initially told investigators Edwards hung himself and that he hid the body under the bunk, concealing it behind shoes and a bundle of laundry. Henderson claimed he was afraid to report the death because his cellmate was a gang member who had been ordered to kill him.

However, a pathologist ruled the death a homicide and listed the cause of death as strangulation.

A few weeks later, Henderson requested mental-health assistance and admitted he had killed his cellmate.

Henderson began serving a 15-year sentence in 2015 for offenses committed in Spartanburg County, including first-degree domestic violence, second-degree domestic violence, burglary, armed robbery, distributing methamphetamine and escape.

Henderson is the second defendant in as many weeks convicted of killing a fellow inmate at Ridgeland Correctional. On Aug. 4, a Jasper County jury found Benjamin Walter “Animal” Dubois III, 39, guilty of the 2017 stabbing death of Jerry Douglas Holmes. Dubois was sentenced to life without parole. His case was prosecuted by Reed Evans of the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office.

Campbell and Evans are members of the Career Criminal Unit, which prosecutes the circuit’s most violent and habitual offenders. That team has earned convictions against 461 of the 503 defendants it has prosecuted since its formation in 2009.

Jeffrey Bryan Henderson