JONESVILLE, SC — Even though two people are in jail, the investigation into a double homicide in the town of Jonesville is still “wide open,” according to Sheriff David Taylor.
And investigators are working to learn more about the couple.
Jeremy Lee Moody, 30, and his wife, Christine Moody, 36, both of 213 S. First St. in the nearby town of Lockhart, were arrested early Wednesday and charged by the Union County Sheriff’s Office with two counts each of murder in the deaths of Charles Marvin Parker, 59, and Gretchen Dawn Parker, 51.
Jeremy Moody has told investigators he targeted Charles Parker because Parker was a registered sex offender. Jeremy Moody had “no beef” with Gretchen Parker, but she was home at the time and was a “casualty of war,” Taylor said Thursday.
Authorities think Parker’s death was intended as the opening phase of a man’s quest to purge sex offenders from Union County.
“He went through our sex offender registry,” Taylor said, “and individually picked out targets.”
After the suspect, Jeremy Moody, 30, was arrested Wednesday, he acknowledged to the authorities that he had planned to kill again Thursday. And he said he had explained to Parker why he had been targeted.
“I’m not here to rob you,” investigators say Moody told Parker. “I’m here to kill you because you’re a child molester.”
Parker had been convicted of sex offenses but not child molesting.
Investigators think the Parkers were killed inside their home sometime last Sunday, with their bodies being discovered after a concerned resident called 911 after he couldn’t get the Parkers to the door Monday night. Both Parkers had been shot and stabbed.
The sheriff’s office plans to bring additional charges against Jeremy Moody and Christine Moody, Taylor said.
Authorities said Jeremy Moody may have seen himself as a vigilante and told investigators he had written down the name of another sex offender he had planned to kill on Wednesday. About 3:45 a.m., he and his wife were arrested at the home of his parents in Lockhart, before he could carry out the third killing, according to the sheriff’s office.
Moody had long been a subject of monitoring by law enforcement officials, who followed his postings on social media websites before losing track of his online presence about a year ago.
Investigators are working to determine whether the Moodys are affiliated with any white supremacy or other hate groups, although the Parkers were white.
Jeremy Moody has a prominent “skinhead” tattoo on the front of his neck, along with the words “white power” tattooed on the top of his bald head. He also has an eagle and swastika and “Made in America” tattoos.
Jeremy Moody also has told investigators he has been involved in other crimes, including homicides. Officers are following those leads, although Taylor has said that Moody could be bragging. He wouldn’t comment on whether there were any specific cases investigators were checking out.
“We’re still going wide open, as much as we were (Wednesday),” Taylor said. “We’re following up on the information he’s given us, getting evidence ready to send to SLED and trying to identify her tattoos, what they mean and what groups they may be associated with.”
Taylor said Christine Moody’s Facebook page seems to link the couple to a white supremacy group called Crew 41, based in Nebraska. Jeremy Moody has a Facebook page under the name Jeremy Mengele, but there are few posts. He posted that he keeps getting banned from the social network.
On her Facebook page, Christine also uses the last name Mengele, possibly a reference to German physician Josef Mengele, known for his inhumane medical experiments on twins and other prisoners at the Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II. The page also contains code numbers for words and phrases associated with the skinhead subculture. Christine Moody makes posts in which she is trying to recruit new members for Crew 41 and uses racial slurs.
Christine Moody identifies herself as a “skin byrd,” or female skinhead. In one post, she states, “The census bureau for the first time in U.S. History have declared that this year, more White people died than were born. The extinction of the White race is upon us. This is undoubtably one of the saddest posts I have ever made.”
Taylor said Christine Moody appears to be trying to recruit new members for Crew 41.
“This is the first time I’ve seen this group,” Taylor said. “We’re doing more research on it. We’ve been in contact with the FBI about it.”
Also on her Facebook page, Christine Moody claims to have cancer.
“We have been told she has cancer,” Taylor said. “Our medical staff has followed up on that.”
The murders have shaken Union County, the site of the well-known 1994 killings of two children by their mother, Susan Smith. It is otherwise a place largely without serious crime.
“You hate hearing anything like that,” said Grady Carson, an employee at a hardware store where the Parkers shopped. “We’ve all done something in our past, and nobody wants someone to show up with a gun and play God.”
Taylor declined to elaborate on what specifically prompted his agency’s concerns about Moody.
“We’ve never thought of him as possibly being a serial killer, but he is someone who we have been watching for the last several years,” Taylor said. “We’re in the South, and it isn’t often you see people running around here with ‘skinhead’ tattooed under their neck.”
Investigators have asked officials in neighboring counties to review whether their files contain any unsolved murders in which the victims were sex offenders.
Jack Levin, a criminologist who is co-director of the Brudnick Center on Violence and Conflict at Northeastern University in Boston, said it was likely that Moody possessed a common trait among killers.
“Serial killers often attempt to justify their killing sprees, and they usually do it by dehumanizing their victims,” Levin said.
But the case in South Carolina is otherwise odd, he said.
“It’s very unusual that someone would set out to kill large numbers of sex offenders.”
Moody is not the first person accused of targeting sex offenders. As recently as last month, a California jury convicted a 36-year-old man of killing a neighbor who was a sex offender, and a Washington state man was sentenced in 2012 to life in prison for a pair of similar killings.