MONCKS CORNER — Two 23-year-old cousins charged with murder in last week’s slayings of Dana Woods and June Guerry appeared in bond court Friday night to answer to new charges.
Magistrate James Polk set bond at $340,000 for Caleb Bradd Matlock of Summerville on charges of armed robbery, possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime and third-degree arson.
Polk set bond at $280,000 for Arthur Ray Chavis of Cordesville on charges of armed robbery and possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime.
Chavis and Matlock have not yet appeared before a circuit judge for a bond hearing on the murder charges.
At Friday’s hearing, Chavis was represented by attorney Grover Seaton IV, who asked only that Polk set a fair bond on the new charges. After the hearing, Seaton declined comment. Matlock was not represented by an attorney but said he had spoken with one.
No family members were present for either the defendants or the victims. Six Berkeley County deputies flanked Chavis and Matlock as they appeared separately before Polk with their hands cuffed to leather belts and in ankle chains.
Polk said that an armed robbery charge could mean up to 30 years in prison, the weapons charge up to five years in jail and the arson charge up to 15 years if the defendants were convicted.
“Thank you for your time,” Matlock said to Polk.
Chavis said he understood the charges against him but otherwise spoke little.
Both defendants signed papers relating to the bond hearing before being escorted from the courtroom back to jail at the Hill-Finklea Detention Center.
The new charges, which resulted from meetings this week between prosecutors and sheriff’s investigators, hint at the motive that had stumped members of the victims’ families and the small communities where the crimes occurred.
Woods, an 18-year-old college student, and Guerry, a 22-year-old mother and Walmart employee, set out late Aug. 26 to run some errands. Making a food stop at Burger King just before midnight, Woods telephoned her mother to say they were giving someone a ride.
Relatives never heard from the women again.
Woods’ Chevrolet Metro was found later that Monday burned off Cane Gully Road near Cordesville in the Francis Marion National Forest. Her body was 75 yards away.
Guerry’s remains were discovered the next day in a dirt pit about 1 mile into the woods behind Woods’ and Guerry’s homes in the Alvin area.
Both of the women were shot to death.
Court papers indicate that Matlock and Chavis, who was on probation for burglary and accused in several other area thefts, confessed to the crimes after their arrests Saturday.
Matlock, a former boyfriend of Guerry’s, is accused of torching Woods’ car, but warrants indicate that both are suspected of taking active roles in the deaths.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Earlier versions of this story incorrectly identified the lawyer representing Arthur Ray Chavis. The Post and Courier regrets the error.