Potential juror for murder trial suffers heart attack, halts jury selection
Jury selection began today in Charleston County for a murder trial, but it came to a halt when a potential juror suffered a heart attack, court officials said.
The jury panel member, a male who has not been identified, was rushed to the hospital from Circuit Court in downtown Charleston, Sheriff’s authorities said. His condition is unknown. Jurors were being chosen for the trial of a Bluffton man, who’s accused of stabbing a woman and dumping her body on the side of a dirt road in Charleston County.
The jury panel was sent home and will return in the morning, where jury selection is expected to continue for the trial of Darold L. Drayton, 34, of S.C. Highway 46. He’s charged with murder in the death of Alexis J. Lukaitis, a 27-year-old mother of twin boys.
Investigators found her body on the side of Old Jacksonboro Road in the southern portion of the county on August 9, 2010. Lukaitis had been stabbed in the throat and chest, according to the arrest warrant. An autopsy showed defensive wounds.
A few days later, authorities found her white 2001 Pontiac Grand Prix in a restaurant parking lot on Bridge Street. Blood was found on the outside and inside of the car, including in the trunk, an affidavit states. The spare tire, foam insert and trunk liner were missing from the trunk. The items were later recovered with blood on them.
Michael Bartley, Lukaitis’ fiancé, who reported her missing, told investigators that she told him that she and Drayton were going to Charleston to get prescription pills, according to an arrest affidavit. Drayton told deputies he occasionally gave her pills, the affidavit states.
Follow @nacuala on Twitter for updates from the trial and read tomorrow’s edition of the Post and Courier for more.
Reach Natalie Caula at 937-5594 or Twitter.com/ncaula.