Trial begins for Bluffton man accused of killing mother of twins
The trial began today in Charleston County for the Bluffton man accused of killing a mother of twins and dumping her body off a dirt road.
Darold L. Drayton, 34, of S.C. Highway 46, is charged with murder in the death of 27-year-old Alexis J. Lukaitis.
Opening statements began in downtown Charleston where the prosecution accused Drayton of stabbing Lukaitis.
“The pathologist will tell you he didn’t cut her once. He didn’t cut her twice. He cut her three times. Puncture wounds were found elsewhere. Then he tried to set her on fire. Her clothes are burned, her skin is charred. He murdered her,” said Jennifer Shealy, Ninth Circuit assistant solicitor in the courtroom.
Drayton’s attorney, Ashley Pennington, who is the county’s public defender, told the jury the state is relying on guesswork and suspicions.
“Blood drops and cell phone records in this area where the death occurred are pieces of evidence that have led the state to a rush to judgment, a leap to conclusions about what happened to Alexis,” he told the jury.
Among the witnesses to testify today for the prosecution were Lukaitis’ fiancé, Michael Bartley, and Drayton’s cousin, Steven Edwards, who claimed he found bloody items in his trash after Drayton came to his house. He also claimed Drayton asked him to take him to the hospital for a cut he had on his finger.
Michael Bartley, Lukaitis’ fiancé, who reported her missing, told the jury she used prescription drugs without prescriptions. He told the jury his fiancé told him she and Drayton were going to Charleston to get prescription pills on August 8, 2010. Lukaitis never returned home.
Her body was found 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.
For the full story, read more in tomorrow’s edition of the Post and Courier.
Reach Natalie Caula at 937-5594 or Twitter.com/ncaula.