COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A South Carolina man targeted a sex offender at random, killed him and his wife and later told deputies he planned to kill others on the state’s sex registry, authorities said Wednesday.
Jeremy Moody and his wife, Christine, were arrested and charged with murder, Union County Sheriff David Taylor said.
Jeremy Moody confessed to the crime and told investigators they arrested him just in time, Taylor said.
“He planned to kill another sex offender on the register today,” the sheriff said.
Moody only knew 59-year-old Charles Parker in passing, but came to the mechanic’s Jonesville home Sunday with plans to kill him, Taylor said at a news conference. Surveillance cameras outside Parker’s home showed Moody and his wife driving up Sunday and popping the hood on their car as if it wasn’t working, Taylor said.
The Moodys and the Parkers spoke to one another for about 10 minutes, then it appears the Moodys were invited inside. The videotape shows the suspects walking into the home with what appear to be weapons, Taylor said.
“He planned to kill this individual last year, but chickened out,” The sheriff said. “But on Sunday, he decided he was going to kill him.”
The sheriff said Moody recounted what he told Charles Parker: “You think I’m here to rob you. I’m not here to rob you. I’m here to kill you because you are a child molester.”
Taylor said he does not know why Moody would have targeted a sex offender.
Both Charles Parker and his 51-year-old wife, Gretchen, were shot and stabbed. Taylor said Gretchen Parker wasn’t specifically targeted, but was killed because she was in the house.
Jeremy Moody, 30, who lived in nearby Lockhart, confessed to deputies after he was arrested early Wednesday morning, investigators said. Moody has “skinhead” tattooed across his neck, and Taylor said he hinted to authorities he may have been involved with other crimes against people he hated. The sheriff said his deputies were checking with other law enforcement agencies nearby, but no additional charges had been filed. Investigators were also seeing if Moody was affiliated with any white supremacist groups.
Christine Moody, 36, hasn’t spoken at length to deputies, the sheriff said. It wasn’t immediately clear whether either suspect has an attorney.
The community where it happened is about 80 miles northwest of Columbia.
The Parkers had a yellow sign on their property with a smiley face that read, “Smile, you’re on camera.” Taylor said the video footage provided the break in the case when an investigator watched it and recognized the suspects. There was no video taken inside the home.
The bodies were discovered Monday when another person seeking to have his car fixed came to the home, saw the door wide open and called police. A deputy found the bodies, but investigators had to wait more than an hour to begin examining the scene because several Chihuahuas threatened emergency workers as they checked to see if the victims had a pulse. Animal control officers were called and removed about 18 dogs, several cats and a half-dozen chickens, authorities said.
Charles Parker had to register as a sex offender after he was convicted of third-degree criminal sexual conduct about a decade ago. Details of that case were not immediately available.
Taylor said he always registered on time and never gave deputies trouble. Relatives of the slain couple were devastated to hear why their loved ones were killed.
“I ask that you give this family the opportunity to (grieve) and pull their thoughts together,” the sheriff said.
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