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Police Say Suspect Confessed To Five Killings After Being High On Meth And Four Days Without Sleep
James Douglas Drayton, 24, was arrested in connection to the murders of five people at a South Carolina home, which was reportedly frequented by drug users.
A man arrested for the fatal shootings of five people in South Carolina allegedly told police that he had been using methamphetamines and had not slept in four days.
James Douglas Drayton, 24, was arrested on Monday in Burke County, Georgia after crashing his car during a high-speed chase with police, Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright told reporters during a news conference on Tuesday.
“This is the largest single murder we’ve had in Spartanburg County,” Wright said.
Authorities said he had tried to rob a convenience store at gunpoint and kidnap an employee, according to the Associated Press. He was allegedly driving a car stolen from the home in Inman where the shootings took place on Sunday.
Spartanburg Police said they caught a break in the case because a relative of one of the victims reached out to authorities for a welfare check and to see if they knew about the vehicle's location.
“Thank God the lady reported the car as being used with consent,” Wright said. “We knew who the car, who should be in the car and when we couldn’t find that car, and they found it down there, that was the break we were looking for.”
Everyone killed in the home lived there. Drayton had been staying at the home for two weeks, authorities said.
The victims were Thomas Anderson, 37, Adam Morley, 32, Mark Hewitt, 59, and Roman Christean Megael Rocha, 19. A fifth victim, was still alive when police arrived, but later died at the hospital. He was identified by the Spartanburg County Coroner Rusty Clevenger as James Derek Baldwin, 49, according to WYFF.
Wright said that Drayton confessed to the murders and provided specific information about the location of the victims.
“He confessed to the crime,” Wright said, according to WYFF. “He basically said he’d been hearing voices. Not sure what that means for him, but he knew he’d been using meth and had been up for like four days. Hadn’t slept in four days, probably not thinking.”
Wright said the house was a “safe haven” for drug users.
“These men and women didn’t deserve what they got,” Wright said. “They did not get justice at all. And just because we have someone in custody doesn’t make things better for these families. It just means they don’t have to wonder.”
Drayton is facing five counts of murder and four counts of possession of a weapon during a violent crime. He’s also facing charges for the Georgia incident, including kidnapping, armed robbery and fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer.
He is still being held in Georgia and awaiting extradition back to South Carolina.