ANDERSON, S.C. -- South Carolina authorities say they’ve arrested a man accused of killing two people more than a month ago and stuffing their bodies in barrels before dumping them into a lake.
Anderson County Sheriff’s spokesman Chad McBride says John Michael Young was arrested early today. A jail spokesman says Young was likely to make a first appearance before a judge later today. He did not know if Young had an attorney.
Deputies charged Young with two counts of murder after collecting a chainsaw and machetes from his home near Lake Hartwell.
Authorities say Young killed 52-year-old Tony McGinnis in September and 37-year-old Andrea Mitchell in October by beating them in the head in woods near his home. Investigators haven’t given a motive but say the slayings weren’t random.
“We believe he targeted these victims for a reason,” McBride said. “I don’t necessarily believe he’s out there targeting people for a random reason.”
Mitchell’s body was found Wednesday in a plastic barrel that was partially submerged in the lake after an officer saw the barrel and examined it. Deputies returned to the lake Thursday and found McGinnis’ dismembered body in a metal barrel about 10 feet under water.
The two victims were acquaintances, but they had several friends in common. McBride said.
A second man, Shaine David Fischer, was arrested and charged with two counts of accessory after the fact of murder. Investigators said he helped Young dump the bodies in the lake. Arrest warrants said he confessed to his role and led investigators to charge Young. It wasn’t known if Fischer had an attorney.
In this Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012 photo, Anderson County Coroner Greg Shore, left, helps sheriff’s deputies carry a barrel that was found in Hartwell Lake near Anderson, S.C. The barrel contained the body of man and was the second barrel found containing human remains in two days. The Anderson County coroner says both victims suffered traumatic deaths.×
Anderson County sheriff’s investigator Tracy Call looks at a kitchen knife removed from a home in Anderson, S.C, Friday, Nov. 16, 2012, as authorities investigate the deaths of two victims found stuffed in barrels in Lake Hartwell.×
This undated photo provided by the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office shows Shaine David Fischer of Anderson, S.C. Fischer was arrested and charged with two counts of accessory after the fact of murder after the bodies of two people were found in separate barrels partially submerged in Lake Hartwell in Anderson. Investigators said Fischer helped John Michael Young dump the bodies in the lake. Arrest warrants said he confessed to his role and led investigators to charge Young, who was arrested early Saturday.×