South Carolina

Horry County man was strangled, beaten to death in SC prison. Now inmate faces charges

A South Carolina prison inmate has been charged in connection to the murder of an Horry County man who was serving a life sentence for a 1999 murder at a Myrtle Beach motel.

William Edward Tillman, 54, is charged with murder following the death of 46-year-old Carl Andrew Pollen Jr., who died April 29 after a fight in his cell at Perry Correctional Institute in Pelzer near Greenville.

A fight broke out in Pollen’s cell about 2 a.m., and he died hours later, according to the South Carolina Department of Corrections.

According to an arrest warrant, Tillman struck the victim multiple times on his head and facial area with his foot. The victim was also strangled with a sheet, the warrant states. Pollen died due to blunt force head trauma, according to the Greenville County Coroner’s Office.

Tillman was initially admitted into SCDC following a life sentence in 1999 for murder in Spartanburg County, according to online records. Tillman received another 30 years in prison following a murder charge at McCormick Correctional Institution, SCDC records show. WIS News reported Tillman stabbed his cellmate Michael Hodge to death in December 2002.

During his time in prison, Tillman has also faced other disciplinary charges, including possession of drugs and a cell phone, SCDC records state.

In 2002, Pollen was sentenced to life in prison for the 1999 murder of Clara Payne, who owned Outrigger Motel where Pollen worked and lived. Pollen reached a plea deal to avoid a possible death penalty by admitting he and his girlfriend, Chadisty Calhoun Sage, stabbed and beat Payne to death in his basement on May 12, 1999. Sage also pleaded guilty to murder and was sentenced to 45 years in prison.

Pollen faced several disciplinary charges during his time in prison, including possession of drugs and a cell phone, SCDC records show. In 2011, Pollen unsuccessfully tried to escape prison, records show.

SCDC denied a S.C. Freedom of Information Act request from The Sun News requesting surveillance footage from the night Pollen died in his cell.

Reporter Tyler Fleming contributed to this story.

The Sun News Reporter Hannah Strong is passionate about making the world better through what she reports and writes. Strong, who is a Pawleys Island native, is quick to jump on breaking news, profiles stories about people in the community and obituaries. Strong has won four S.C. Press Association first-place awards, including one for enterprise reporting after riding along with police during a homicide. She earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from Winthrop University.