By David Travis Bland

Laurens County Sheriff Don Reynolds called it “the hideous operation.”

Michelle Marie Dodge, who was found shot to death two weeks ago, would likely be alive if it wasn’t for a hit arranged on contraband cellphones in the South Carolina prison system, Reynolds said at a Friday news conference broadcast by Fox Carolina. He railed against a federal law that bars officials with the South Carolina Department of Corrections from blocking cell phone signals in prisons.

“It absolutely boggles my mind that they don’t jam these signals,” Reynolds said. “I don’t know why anybody could not be ashamed of themselves that are not fighting to stop this.”

The 27-year-old York woman was kidnapped, shot in the back of the head and her body disposed in a killing that was orchestrated through calls and text messages by a convicted murderer and drug dealer locked up in Kirkland Correctional Institute, authorities have said.

Officials with the South Carolina Department of Corrections have called for the ability to block cell phone signals in prisons for years. A federal law prohibits jamming telephones with no exemptions. Legislation, cosponsored by Sen. Lindsey Graham, was introduced in March to amend the law.

Police in South Carolina and North Carolina arrested eight people in the case, saying they conspired to kidnap Dodge and concealed evidence. Others are likely to be arrested, Reynolds said.

James Peterson arranged Dodge’s death as an act of vengeance, according to Reynolds. Police charged Peterson with murder and conspiracy to kidnap.