SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – The man accused of killing five people in an Inman home Sunday night was arrested early Monday morning in Georgia.
Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright said James Douglas Drayton was arrested Monday in Burke County, Georgia and confessed to the murders.
A car that was stolen from one of the victims was also recovered in Georgia. This comes after deputies responded to a home on Bobo Drive around 7:45 p.m. Sunday and found four dead.
A fifth person was taken to the hospital and later died during surgery.
The Spartanburg County Coroner’s Office has released the identities of the victims: 37-year-old Thomas Ellis Anderson, 32-year-old Adam Daniel Morley, 59-year-old Mark Allen Hewitt, 19-year-old Roman Christean Megael Rocha, and 49-year-old James Derek Baldwin.
“I’m just in shock and awe about this whole situation,” said Sami McKelvey, a friend of Thomas Anderson. “Who disliked five people enough to end their lives? Why did it have to be him? He didn’t deserve that. None of those people deserved that.”
The Burke County Sheriff’s Office said Drayton was initially arrested Monday for an unrelated armed robbery.
Drayton was accused of robbing the Taylor Brothers X-Press convenience store on Highway 25 North in Burke County around 4:30 a.m. Monday before leading deputies there on a chase.
That chase ended with a crash in Waynesboro a short time later.
“They ended up in a vehicle pursuit, and during that pursuit the vehicle crashed into a pole,” explained Maj. Chad Plueger of the Burke County Sheriff’s Office. “The suspect got out and ran on foot. The other deputies that were in the area were able to give chase and take him into custody.”
Sheriff Wright said Spartanburg County investigators traveled to Burke County to interview Drayton where he confessed to the five killings.
“I think he said he had been hearing voices,” said Wright.
Sheriff Wright said Drayton was living at the house, where several of the residents were using drugs.
“This was a place people who got their drugs would go when they thought they were safely doing their drugs in that home,” said Wright.
Warrants stated that Drayton shot each victim multiple times.
It is the largest mass murder in the county’s history.
The Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office has charged Drayton with five counts of murder and four counts of possession of a weapon during a violent crime.
“These men didn’t deserve what they got,” said Wright. “They did not get justice at all.”
Sheriff wright said he “hopes” the crime “fits the criteria for the death penalty.”
Drayton was charged with armed robbery, kidnapping, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime in Burke County.
He is currently being held in the Burke County Detention Center. Drayton was denied bond Wednesday afternoon in Georgia.
Drayton was previously convicted of assault and battery and burglary charges out of Lexington County, South Carolina. He was sentenced to five years in prison in 2019 and was released on parole in November 2021, according to the South Carolina Department of Corrections.
Arrest records show that Drayton was arrested in December 2021 on a disorderly conduct charge in Duncan.
Watch Sheriff Wright’s full press conference: