Jonesville double slaying

Sheriff: Another killing was plotted

The Spartanburg Herald-JournalJuly 24, 2013 

— Union County authorities believe they may have thwarted a potential serial killer with the arrest of a Lockhart man accused of shooting and stabbing a registered sex offender and who told investigators he planned to target a second sex offender.

Jeremy Lee Moody, 30, and his wife, Christine Moody, 36, both of 213 S. 1st St., Lockhart, were arrested early Wednesday and charged with two counts each of murder in the deaths of Charles Marvin Parker, 59, and Gretchen Dawn Parker, 51. Other charges against the Moodys could come today, in connection with the Jonesville incident, Sheriff David Taylor said.

Authorities said Jeremy Moody confessed to the crime and admitted to planning to kill another registered sex offender before being caught.

On Monday, the Parkers were found on separate couches in their home at 2809 Furman Fendley Highway. Both had fatal gunshot wounds, according to autopsies.

Taylor announced the arrests during a news conference Wednesday afternoon. Taylor said surveillance cameras at the home was instrumental in tracking down the suspects and making the arrests.

Holding a photo of a sign that was in the front yard of the Parkers’ home – a sign that read “Smile you’re on camera” –Taylor said, “They were not smiling. They were on camera.”

Jeremy Moody told investigators that he had planned to kill Charles Parker last year, but “chickened out,” the sheriff said. Moody said he decided to kill Charles Parker on Sunday and obtained a gun, boots, gloves and knives to carry out his plan, which was motivated by Charles Parker’s previous criminal history. Deputies think Gretchen Parker was killed only because she was at home at the time.

“He (Jeremy Moody) had no beef with Mrs. Parker,” Taylor said.

Taylor said Jeremy Moody had planned to kill another sex offender Wednesday, and had the person’s name written on a piece of paper. That name has not been released.

“He (Moody) said it was a good thing we arrested him last night, because he was going to kill another sex offender from the registry today,” Taylor said.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, in video obtained from the Parkers’ property, Jeremy Moody can be seen driving a car that parked near the residence, and he pretended to have engine trouble, raising the hood of his car. Christine Moody was a passenger in the car, Taylor said.

Both Parkers came outside, and after a short time, the two couples went inside the house, where the Parkers were shot, then stabbed as they sat on two couches in the living room, Taylor said. Three .380-caliber shell casings were found inside the house.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, Charles Parker told the Moodys before the killings that the couple didn’t have any money, to which Jeremy Moody replied, “You think we’re here to rob you? I’m here to kill you because you’re a child molester.”

Three cameras were outside the Parkers’ home. Two of the cameras were near the side door, through which both the Parkers and Moodys were seen entering the home before the killings, Taylor said. One camera was trained on the door, while the other faced the driveway.

Investigators familiar with Jeremy Moody identified him on the video by his distinctive gait, Taylor said.

Christine Moody is seen on the video concealing what investigators think was a knife behind her back, and Jeremy Moody is seen with a handgun.

According to a criminal history provided by the State Law Enforcement Division, Charles Parker had been convicted of third-degree criminal sexual conduct stemming from a February 2003 charge.

In that case, both Parkers were charged by the York County Sheriff’s Office and accused of assaulting a 31-year-old mentally challenged woman, according to an incident report.

The charge was dropped against Gretchen Parker. Charles Parker was convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison, suspended upon five years probation.

Sixteenth Circuit Assistant Solicitor E.B. Springs said Charles Parker was required to register as a sex offender in South Carolina because of prior charges in North Carolina. The S.C. Sex Offender Registry lists a charge from 1991, rather than the 2003 case against Charles Parker.

The Parkers also had pending drug charges from arrests last year, related to the illegal sale of prescription pain killers, Taylor said. Investigators looked into whether the Parkers and Moodys met through drug connections. Both Jeremy and Christine Moody were charged last August with drug distribution and drug distribution near a school, according to SLED. The drug connection hasn’t panned out, Taylor said, and investigators still aren’t clear how Jeremy Moody and Charles Parker knew each other, although the sheriff referred to them as acquaintances.

Christine Moody’s criminal history also includes charges of driving under the influence and shoplifting. Jeremy Moody has numerous arrests dating back to 2003, and was convicted of a drug charge in January. He was sentenced to three years in prison, suspended upon 18 months probation. He is prohibited from possessing a gun or ammunition, according to SLED.

Investigators continued to interview Jeremy Moody, who has a bald head and the word “skinhead” with a Nazi-style eagle and swastika tattooed on his neck, on Wednesday, Taylor said. They are trying to determine whether he is connected to any white supremacist groups or similar crimes in surrounding jurisdictions, the sheriff said. The sheriff’s office has contacted federal authorities about the possibility of the Jonesville killings being a hate crime,

“There are indications he may be connected to other crimes, homicides, hate crimes,” Taylor said, “He’s basically said this is not the first time. But he may be glorifying the moment.”

In Taylor’s opinion, Jeremy Moody may see himself as a vigilante.

“I think we had the potential for a serial killer,” the sheriff said.

However, investigators think the Moodys were working alone when they came to the Parkers’ home Sunday.

“They had their own agenda,” Taylor said.

Christine Moody initially refused to cooperate with investigators, but later on Wednesday provided a statement admitting that she was present when the Parkers were killed, he said.

The suspects lived with Jeremy Moody’s parents in Lockhart. Investigators searched the home and seized a knife and gun, along with other potential evidence. Taylor said there is no indication that Jeremy Moody’s parents knew of their son’s plans, and they have been cooperative with the Sheriff’s Office.

The Moodys, wearing black-and-white-striped jumpsuits, appeared before Magistrate Whitney Smith at the Union County Jail later Wednesday. Christine Moody shed a few tears and told reporters she didn’t have anything to say. When Smith asked Christine Moody if she understood the charges against her, she replied, “I’m not exactly sure,” and Smith explained the charges.

Jeremy Moody was silent as he walked past reporters. Smith told both Moodys that their initial appearance in general sessions court was scheduled for Oct. 8.

“Will I be staying here until the eighth?” Jeremy Moody asked. Smith denied bond for the couple. The Moodys can request another bond hearing before a circuit court judge.

In spite of the pending drug charges, it appeared to authorities that Charles Parker and his wife lived a quiet life at their weathered home along U.S. 176, with their pets, including numerous Chihuahuas and other dogs, cats and chickens. Charles Parker worked as a “shade tree” mechanic, fixing cars and small engines in his yard.

Convicted South Carolina sex offenders are required to register each year with the Sheriff’s Office in the county where they live throughout their lifetime. Parker was always on time for his scheduled registration, Taylor said.

During the news conference, Taylor was flanked by officers and numerous members of the Parker family, some of whom quietly wept as Taylor gave details of the incident to reporters. Parker’s mother gave Taylor a hug after he finished speaking to the media. The sheriff said the family received some closure from the arrests, and that they have requested privacy in their grief.

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