Bluffton man convicted of murder, sentenced to life

A jury has found Darold Drayton, the man accused of killing a Bluffton mother of twins, of murder. Circuit Court Judge J.C. Nicholson sentenced him to life in prison.

Drayton, 35, is accused of stabbing 27-year-old Alexis Lukaitis during a road trip to Charleston to get pills on Aug. 8, 2010. Her body was found by a logger the next day on the side of the dirt road, Old Jacksonboro Road in southern Charleston County.

Lukaitis throat was cut three times, according to a pathologist. She also had defensive wounds, cuts, on her hands. Prosecutors also claim Drayton tried burning her body after she died.

More than 200 pieces of evidence were presented to the jury who took about an hour and a half to return the verdict this afternoon.

Lukaitis had a problem with prescription pills, and “D,” as she knew Drayton, would get her those pills, according to prosecutors. Their trip to Charleston was one of those buying missions.

Lukaitis was supposed to return the same night but never came home. Her fiance, Michael Bartley testified that Lukaitis called him that night and said she was about an hour away from home but when she didn’t show up or answer her phone, he became frantic, calling hospitals and jails.

Drayton’s cousin, Stephen Edwards, also testified earlier this week against him about how he found bloody items at his home just after Drayton showed up to his house.

On Aug. 11, 2010, Edwards noticed there was trash on his porch. He opened it and discovered several things with blood on them, including a diaper bag, an emergency car kit, a CD case and a spare tire, he said in court.

Drayton had shown up at the house in Bluffton after Lukaitis disappeared. He knocked on the back door, Edwards said, asking for a ride to the hospital for a severe cut on his finger. He told his cousin he had gotten into a fight with three men from Beaufort, Edwards said.

Edwards drove him to the hospital and later to a jewelry store because Drayton claimed he wanted to sell a class ring, he said. Prosecutors claim instead he sold Lukaitis’ engagement ring for quick cash after killing her.

For the full story, read tomorrow’s edition of the Post and Courier.

Reach Natalie Caula at 937-5594 or Twitter.com/ncaula.