By: JEFFREY COLLINS, Associated Press

COLUMBIA, S.C. – A sheriff says an inmate serving a murder sentence in a South Carolina prison orchestrated the revenge killing of a woman from behind bars using contraband cellphones.

Laurens County Sheriff Don Reynolds said there is little doubt 27-year-old Michelle Dodge would still be alive today if federal officials allowed cellphone signals to be jammed at state prisons.

Reynolds said 31-year-old James Peterson arranged the killing. Peterson was sentenced to 30 years in prison for murder in a 2005 killing during a drug deal in Cherokee County. He has had 10 prison violations for possessing cellphones since 2012 and was convicted in federal court of carrying on a drug ring using cellphones in 2017.