WAYNESBORO, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) – After a South Carolina serial killer suspect was arrested right here in our area, a store clerk is glad she survived the close call with him.
Five people were killed Sunday in what authorities in South Carolina called “the largest murder in Spartanburg County.”
The suspect is James Drayton, 24 years old, who was arrested in Burke County after the alleged steal Taylor Bros’ X-Press. over 25 United States north of Waynesboro.
Authorities say he searched the cashier with a gun, demanding money.
Cashier Furrica Harden didn’t know when she opened the store that morning she would be staring down the barrel of a gun, just weeks after her death. Stepsons of gun violence at a convenience store shot each other in Augusta.
“I just noticed this guy standing in that aisle…with a mask. And I said, ‘Why are you wearing a mask?’ He pulled out a gun,” she said.
After she handed over the money, the robber ran away. She called 911 and gave a description of a white car.
“I was very, I said, ‘Oh, I just got robbed.” I can’t… I can’t believe it. Do you understand what I’m saying? I can’t believe it,’ she said.
Captain Jimmy Wylds of the Burke County Sheriff’s Office said officers spotted a white car speeding south on Highway 25 and began chasing it.
The driver damaged the vehicle near South Liberty and Manau roads and fled.
“Once he damaged the car, he jumped out and ran to the back of CVS,” where congressmen arrested him, Wylds said.
It wasn’t until the deputies ran the cards on the stolen car that they discovered who they were dealing with.
“Once they made the arrest and the investigators got involved, and they called Spartanburg to find out about the owner of the car, that’s when they determined that he was involved in a crime. more serious,” he said.
Something more serious – an accused serial killer has been on the run since Sunday.
“We don’t know,” Wylds said. When you pull people over, you don’t know if they’re a serial killer or a saint.”
Wylds said that Drayton was uncooperative after they arrested him, but officers from Spartanburg County arrived at the station and said they had received a full confession to the murder.
“You’re talking about a man who just took five lives, so it would be nothing for him to take the life of the woman in the store,” Wylds said.
Harden is glad he’s still alive.
“God was with me that day,” she said. “I’m so grateful.”
About the murders
Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright said Drayton told authorities he had taken methamphetamine and hadn’t slept in four days.
In Inman, SC, four people were found shot dead in a home on Bobo Drive and one was wounded and later died during surgery at Spartanburg Regional Medical Center.
The coroner has released the names of four of the individuals so far:
- Thomas Anderson, 37, of Bobo Drive.
- Adam Morley, 32, of Bobo Drive.
- Mark Hewitt, 59, was at the home at the time of the incident.
- Roman Christean Megael Rocha, 19 years old, is at home. Rocha was the victim who passed away in surgery following the incident.
Wright said he hopes the case against Drayton fits the criteria for the death penalty.
Wright said investigators had received prior complaints about “people hallucinating” at the home where Drayton, formerly Millen, lived two weeks before the incident.
“I don’t know if we’ll ever win the war on drugs, but that has nothing to do with the war we’re going to bring you,” Wright said.
“Just because these men are using illegal drugs, doesn’t mean they aren’t worthy,” he said. “If you want to argue with that, let’s go talk to their mom and dad. Go talk to their son or their children. God still loves us despite our stupid choices.”
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