LEXINGTON, S.C. (AP) — Lexington County homicide investigators said Sunday they’ve charged a suspect with murder after discovering the body of a man who disappeared more than a month ago buried in his back yard.
Worth Edward Cook III, 26, of Leesville, is charged with murder, financial fraud and other crimes, the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department said. Cook was held Sunday at the Lexington County jail while awaiting a bond hearing.
The mother of David Diblasi, 54, of Lexington reported her son missing a month ago. She told deputies she last saw Diblasi on Feb. 25 at the home they shared, Lexington County Sheriff James Metts said.
Lexington County’s coroner determined Diblasi died that same day. He was stabbed in one eye and his neck and suffered a fractured skull.
Cook stabbed Diblasi multiple times with a knife at Cook’s home and then buried Diblasi’s body in the back of the home’s property, Metts said. Cook then took apart Diblasi’s white 1996 Isuzu Hombre pickup truck, which he had driven to Cook’s home.
Metts said the motive for the Diblasi’s killing remains under investigation.
Detectives also charged Richard Earl Barnes, 40, of West Columbia, with being an accessory after the fact to murder, manufacturing methamphetamine, and marijuana possession, Metts said. Barnes was held Sunday at the county detention center on bail totaling $5,620.
Jail records do not show that Cook or Barnes are represented by an attorney, said Maj. John Allard, a sheriff’s department spokesman.
Surveillance camera video shows Barnes and Cook traveled on March 5 to a Wal-Mart store near Lexington, where Cook used Diblasi’s credit card to buy diapers and other baby supplies, Metts said. Cook’s girlfriend is pregnant, Metts said.
Barnes is accused of selling parts of Diblasi’s pickup to a scrap metal dealer, Metts said, and unsuccessfully trying to use Diblasi’s credit card to buy a saw at a home improvement center.