Suspect in 5 S.C. murders captured in Burke County

James Douglas Drayton.
James Douglas Drayton.(Contributed)
Published: Oct. 11, 2022 at 2:34 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 11, 2022 at 3:14 PM EDT
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WAYNESBORO, Ga. - The suspect in the murder of five people in South Carolina was captured in Burke County.

On Monday, deputies from the Burke County Sheriff’s Office arrested James Douglas Drayton, 24, of Spartanburg, S.C., after a robbery at Taylor Bros. X-Press on U.S. 25 north of Waynesboro.

During their investigation of the robbery and Drayton, local deputies learned he was a suspect in the mass murder of five people that occurred Sunday at a home on Bobo Street in Inman, S.C.

“Investigators from the Spartanburg Sheriff’s Office traveled to our county where they interviewed Drayton and received a full confession to the mass murder of the 5 individuals in Inman,” the Burke County Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday in a statement.

Spartanburg County Sheriff Sheriff Chuck Wright said Drayton told authorities he had been using methamphetamine and hadn’t slept in four days. Wright added that Drayton fully confessed to the incident and was able to give specific details about the victims.

Spartanburg County investigators have obtained three murder warrants for Drayton and will be securing additional warrants once they have completed the identification of the remaining victims and notification

In Inman, four people were found dead in the home and one person was injured and later passed away in surgery at Spartanburg Regional Medical Center.

All five were adults, according to the coroner, and their injuries appear to be from gunshots.

The coroner has released the names of four of the individuals so far:

  • 37-year-old Thomas Anderson, of Bobo Drive.
  • 32-year-old Adam Morley, of Bobo Drive.
  • 59-year-old Mark Hewitt, who was staying at the house at the time of the incident.
  • 19-year-old Roman Christean Megael Rocha, who was staying at the home. Rocha was the victim who passed away during surgery following the incident.

Wright said he hopes the case against Drayton, who is charged with five counts of murder, fits the criteria for the death penalty.

Wright said investigators had received prior complaints about “people hallucinating” at the home on Bobo Drive where the homicides occurred.

“I don’t know if we’ll ever win the war on drugs, but that ain’t got nothing to do with the fight we’re gonna bring to you,” Wright said.

He also added that while there is a discussion about drugs, the five men killed on Bobo Drive are all victims, first and foremost.

“God still loves us even if we make dumb choices,” Wright said.

The Burke County robbery happened around 4:25 a.m. Monday.

Burke County Sheriff Alfonzo Williams said the robber entered the store, sought out the clerk at gunpoint, and took her from the kitchen to the cash register while demanding money.

This was the car after a robber wrecked it early Monday in Waynesboro, according to the Burke...
This was the car after a robber wrecked it early Monday in Waynesboro, according to the Burke County sheriff.(Contributed)

He made off with an undisclosed amount of money and fled in a white Nissan on U.S. 25, according to Williams.

Deputies and Waynesboro Police Department officers spotted the suspected getaway vehicle and started chasing it, according to authorities.

The suspect wrecked the car near South Liberty and Manau streets and fled on foot. Drayton was caught while jumping a fence during a “lengthy foot chase,” Williams said.