CHARLESTON, SC – Chief Mitch Lucas is head of the Charleston County Detention Center where Heather Kamp and Ethan Mack have been held since their arrests.
Kamp testified this week in Mack's trial for the 2009 murder of Kate Waring. Kamp told the court that she and Mack exchanged letters while in jail, using fake names.
"A lot of this stuff is part of the game for inmates," Lucas said Thursday. "Yes, they could call Mom and write so and so a letter and say this but it's not nearly as exciting as beating the system. I think it was highly unlikely that there was direct communication in this case."
Lucas said there is really no reason to sneak.
"There are several forms of communication inmates have. One is the postal service. We don't screen personal mail. We open it for contraband, but don't screen content."
Lucas said it is important to note the Charleston County Detention Center is a jail and not a prison. It is basically a holding facility where 80 percent of inmates have not been convicted of a crime so the privacy rules are different than in a prison. He also said that even communication between codefendants isn't against the rules.
"We've got hundreds of codefendants in this jail. This just happens to be the marquise case," Lucas said.
But under oath Wednesday, Kamp claimed they broke the rules.
"His yard was below mine. I was on top, he was below me. It was easy to talk over the side on him," Kamp said Wednesday.
Lucas said they can yell and be heard and questioned whether or not that was an effective form of communication.
Kamp also claimed they passed notes.
"You're outside in a yard. One yard is on top of another yard. You can take a line ,put the line down the yard and attach a note to the paper," Lucas said.
Lucas said it would take a lot of luck
"You'd have to know who's in the yard below and be in the precise place at the same time," he said.
Kamp also claimed they arranged to play sick so they could meet face to face. She said that once they sat side-by-side and had a general conversation.
Lucas said it could've happened in the waiting area, but a guard would've been right there.
"So, if they were in the medical area on sick call, yes that is possible. Whether they did, I don't know," Lucas said.
And while inmates may try to beat the system, Lucas said he doesn't believe Kamp's claim that the guards looked the other way.
"If inmates violate our rules we deal with it quickly and severely so any notion we would turn a blind eye is just not true," he said.