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‘Scum of All Earth’: Mom of 17-Year-Old Victim Condemns Carnival Worker Charged with Multiple Murders


The grieving mother of late 17-year-old Georgia girl Joycelyn M. Alsup condemned the man charged with murdering her and two other women. James Michael Wright, 23, is charged with killing Alsup as well as Tennessee women 22-year-old Elizabeth Marie Vanmeter, and 25-year-old Athina Hopson.

“He is unfit to be even called a monster because he is the scum of all earth,” Cynthia Butterworth told WJHL.

Authorities said in a press conference Monday that Wright, a subcontractor at the James H. Drew Exposition carnival, confessed to fatally shooting all three women in separate incidents. The defendant, however, allegedly claimed these were all accidents. Wright meet the victims through his job at the carnival, said Washington County Sheriff Fred Newman.

The defendant worked with Alsup’s father.

“He’s the pony guy,” Butterworth said. “That’s what we called him. The pony dude.”

Newman said investigators found Alsup’s and Vanmeter’s bodies on property near Wright’s residence, but they still have to locate Hopson. The defendant allegedly claimed he threw the body in a river.

Investigators said Monday they would reach out to areas in which the carnival traveled, and see if there were any missing persons cases there.

Newman told WJHL that he considered Wright a serial killer because of the number of victims, and time span in which these murders happened. All three victim had been reported missing in March, and the defendant allegedly killed them all over 18 days.

Online records show that Wright remains at the Abingdon Regional Jail as of Wednesday morning.

The defendant is charged with three count of capital murder, which carries a possible death sentence. His court-appointed lawyer Barry L. Proctor told The Associated Press that he couldn’t talk about his conversation with his client. He also said that he couldn’t establish his take on the alleged confession because he hadn’t yet scene a written, video, or audio depiction yet.

“We don’t take a position quite yet on the statements that are there or whether they’re truthful or not,” he said.

[Screengrab via Washington County Sheriff’s Office]

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