Florida inmates shot themselves to get reduced sentences, officials say

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LAKE CITY, Fla. - Three Florida prison inmates and four others are charged with smuggling a gun into a prison so they could shoot themselves and then sue the Corrections Department for reduced sentences.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement reported Tuesday that Columbia Correctional Institution inmates Kirk Cartwright and Deshandre Billups were shot and wounded on March 22. FDLE says the pair claimed they were praying in their cell when they were shot by an unknown person.

Investigators later found they managed with the help of relatives, friends and a third inmate to get a .25-caliber handgun into the prison through the mail, with plans to shoot themselves and file lawsuits. FDLE says the two regularly smuggled cellphones and drugs into the prison.

Cartwright and Billups are facing five new felony charges.

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