‘A big part of me is gone’: Twin shares shock over Trenton slaying

A man in South Carolina has died of a heart attack after he was burying the body of his girlfriend. (Sources: WRDW)
Published: May. 11, 2022 at 11:20 AM EDT
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TRENTON, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - The twin sister of the victim in a Trenton slaying never saw it coming.

She certainly never could’ve imagined the most bizarre twist: The accused killer dropped dead himself while burying the woman he’d strangled.

The Edgefield County Sheriff’s Office says evidence shows Joseph McKinnon, 60, strangled Patricia Dent, 65, inside their home at 102 Tanglewood Drive and was burying her in the backyard when he died of a heart attack.

A shovel and dirt could be seen at the home where Joseph McKinnon buried Patricia Dent after...
A shovel and dirt could be seen at the home where Joseph McKinnon buried Patricia Dent after strangling her.(WRDW)

While covering the pit, McKinnon set the shovel aside and tried to walk away.

And that’s where he died.

Emergency medical crews were called to the scene by a neighbor who found the man’s body just before 10 a.m. Saturday, tried chest compressions, and called 911.

Dent’s body was found wrapped in garbage bags in the freshly dug hole. Authorities say she’d been strangled.

We talked to Dent’s twin sister, who said the family didn’t see this coming.


Photo gallery: Trenton slaying victim

“I’m shocked. I didn’t see any of that coming,” said Pamela Briggs.

She says there were no signs of any of this happening.

“Everybody who ever met her liked her. She was just full of energy. She was 65 and working,” said Briggs.

Dent was supposed to be at work that day at Mount Vintage Golf Club but didn’t show up, call or respond to texts, an employee at the golf course told deputies.


“She wanted to know if I knew where my sister was, and I said, ‘No I have no idea,’ and then it just started to play out from there,” said Briggs.

“I would say a nightmare, and I want to wake up, and it’s a dream. I know it’s not. This is reality and life, and a big part of me is gone, and now I’m going to have to live with that,” she said

The bizarre incident comes as the entire CSRA sees a rise in violent crime – and Edgefield County hasn’t been immune.

Just Tuesday, a stabbing was reported in Edgefield County at 101 Trailside Drive at 3:33 a.m. Deputies say they found one victim with a stab wound at the home just outside Murphy Village. The injuries were minor.

In addition to Dent’s death, CSRA slayings since April 14 include these incidents:

  • Late May 3, Charles L. Bradley, 49, of Aiken was found shot dead inside a car at Hampton Avenue and Assembly Street in Aiken. The shooting was one of three gunfire incidents that night in Aiken. No one was hurt in the other incidents.
  • A shooting just before 7:30 p.m. April 23 claimed the life of Rodriquez Dunn, 31, at the Olmstead Homes in the 2100 block of B Street in Augusta. Dunn suffered at least one gunshot wound and died at the scene.
  • On April 19, Brittany Dougherty was found slain outside a vacant home in the 1500 block of Conklin Lane. Her death was considered suspicious from the start, but within hours the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office ruled her death a homicide.
  • On April 18, Johnnie Coleman was found shot dead in the 1900 block of Old Savannah Road. Authorities released a photo of a car suspected to have been linked to that slaying. Kelvin Lewis, 33, has been arrested as a suspect in the murders of Coleman and Dougherty.
  • Jenefer Holt Herron, 52, of Augusta, died late April 18 after being shot during an argument outside the Circle K at 1739 Walton Way in Augusta. Suspect Yelena Buckner, 33, of Augusta, was later found and arrested on charges of murder and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, deputies reported.
  • JaJuan Russell, 21, of Augusta, was fatally shot early April 17 in the 3700 block of Oslo Road in Augusta. Russell was taken to Augusta University Medical Center.
  • Sandersville police found the body of a man April 16 inside a home on Gwendolyn Street while responding to a report of a domestic dispute at the address. Santavious Louis Roberts, 35, of Sandersville, was arrested.
  • Brandon Peebles, 24, of Girard, was shot around 10:45 p.m. April 14 in the 2300 block of Prague Court. He was pronounced dead at 11:23 p.m.

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