A 24-year-old man was arrested this week in Georgia after he allegedly confessed to murdering five people in South Carolina during a multi-day, meth-induced bender, authorities announced.
James Douglas Drayton was taken into custody Monday morning and is currently charged with a slew of crimes in Georgia as he awaits extradition back to South Carolina, jail records reviewed by Law&Crime show.
According to a press release from the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office (S.C.), deputies on Oct. 9 at approximately 7:45 p.m. responded to a 911 call about a possible death at a residence located in the 200 block of Bobo Drive in Inman.
Upon arriving at the scene, deputies entered the residence and discovered four unresponsive males, all of whom were pronounced dead on the scene, the release states. A fifth individual was also found inside the home “showing signs of life” and was rushed to the Spartanburg Medical Center for treatment. However, the fifth victim eventually succumbed to their injuries and were pronounced dead a short time after arriving at the facility.
Four of the victims have been identified: Thomas Ellis Anderson, 37, Adam Daniel Morley, 32, Mark Allen Hewitt, 59, and Roman Christean Megael Rocha, 19. Authorities have not released the name of the fifth victim because the family has not yet been notified.
Authorities investigating into the deaths say they “caught a break” Monday morning when Georgia’s Burke County Sheriff’s Office took a suspect into custody on suspicion of armed robbery. The suspect, later identified as Drayton, was arrested approximately 145 miles from the Bobo Drive residence.
“Thank God the lady reported the car as being used without consent,” Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright said during a Tuesday press conference. “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.”
Drayton reportedly fled from deputies in a vehicle that was registered to family member of one of the victims. Burke County deputies subsequently contacted authorities in Spartanburg for a welfare check on the owner of the vehicle. Investigators in South Carolina say they had already recovered belongings from inside the Bobo Drive residence with Drayton’s name and were quickly able to connect him to the scene.
“Our investigators believe that Drayton was staying on Bobo Dr. for approximately 2 weeks. Our investigators obtained a full confession from Drayton about this incident,” SCSO wrote in the release. “Without providing all the details of the confession, Drayton was able to provide specific information about the scene including the location of the victims. ”
Sheriff Wright also provided additional details about Drayton’s alleged confession in what he called the “largest single murder” in the county’s history.
“He confessed to the crime,” Sheriff Wright said. “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.”
The sheriff also said that Drayton and all of the victims were believed to be known drug users who frequented the Bobo Drive house, which was typically a “safe place” to do drugs rather than on the streets.
“These men and women didn’t deserve what they got,” Sheriff 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 that they don’t have to wonder.”
It’s unknown when Drayton will be extradited back to South Carolina to face charges in the quintuple homicide. He’s charged in Georgia with kidnapping, armed robbery, firearm possession, and eluding police, among other crimes.
Watch the press conference below.
[image via Spartanburg County Sheriff]
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