- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 1, 2015

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Two South Carolina inmates serving life sentences for murder have been charged with taking two prison nurses hostage with homemade knives during a seven-hour standoff in September, authorities said Tuesday.

One nurse was released six hours into the standoff at Kirkland Correctional Institution in Columbia, while a SWAT team rescued the second about an hour later, according to arrest warrants released by the State Law Enforcement Division.

Eric Tessner, 34, and Wesley Floyd, 45, are each charged with first-degree assault, taking of hostages by an inmate and carrying a weapon.

State agents said Floyd and Tessner forced their way into a nursing station where prescription drugs are kept on Sept. 5, using the makeshift knives to hold the nurses hostage. At one point, Tessner held a nurse, while Floyd cut her throat, according to arrest warrants. She survived.

Records show Floyd had taken hostages before. Prison records show along with his life sentence handed down for a 1987 murder in Horry County, he is serving another life sentence for taking hostages in a 13-hour standoff in 1999 at Lee Correctional Institution.

In 1999, Floyd and another inmate took a teacher and secretary hostage in a classroom using makeshift knives, according to the records. They let the women go after they got some pizza, a prison spokesman said at the time.

Floyd was serving a life sentence then, pleading guilty in 1988 two days into a death penalty trial for what prosecutors said was the kidnapping and torture death of a 27-year-old woman in Horry County.

Tessner is also behind bars for life for a brutal killing. In August 2006, he was convicted of killing his pregnant girlfriend in Florence County by stabbing and beating her.


Follow Jeffrey Collins on Twitter at https://twitter.com/JSCollinsAP. His work can be found at https://bigstory.ap.org/content/jeffrey-collins.

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