Activist renews call for AG to intervene in backyard burial slayings case (copy)

James Edward Loftis, who was charged with two counts of murder, appears at a bond hearing at Hill-Finklea Detention Center in Moncks Corner in March 2016. Loftis died Sunday, authorities said. File

A Goose Creek man who faced two counts of murder for shooting two men and then burning and burying their bodies in his backyard in 2016 has died, authorities said. 

James Edward Loftis, 42, died Sunday. Berkeley County Coroner Bill Salisbury said his manner of death was suicide. 

He had been on house arrest since posting $250,000 bail following his arrest in the March 5, 2016, slayings at his home on South Pandora Drive. 

Early that morning, Global Mobile Taxi Service cab driver Guma Oz Dubar, 46, of North Charleston gave Loftis a ride home from Stilettos Gentlemen's Club in Charleston. Dubar's friend, 32-year-old Ladson resident James Cody Newland, tagged along.

After dropping him off, Loftis told police the men banged on his door and demanded the cab fare. He said they pushed their way into the home. Loftis told them he would get the cash but instead grabbed a .45-caliber pistol and fired eight times, killing Dubar and Newland, police said. 

Instead of calling police, authorities said Loftis dumped the victims' bodies in a hole in his yard then burned their remains and his dirty clothes.

Loftis' wife returned home and found a bullet hole in the living room wall. She went to police that night and said her husband was having suicidal thoughts and had told her he "killed them and put them in the backyard," according to an affidavit.

Police found the victims' bodies in a shallow grave. 

Prosecutors later said that Loftis told inconsistent stories about how the fatal encounter unfolded, indicating at one point that Dubar and Newland had forced their way in, and saying at another point that he had let them into the home.

Loftis' attorney said a size 12 footprint found near the door handle and blood found in the doorjamb corroborated his story of self-defense.

Loftis had also faced two counts of desecrating human remains and one count of obstruction of justice, records show. 

Reach Angie Jackson at 843-937-5705. Follow her on Twitter at @angiejackson23

Angie Jackson covers crime and breaking news for The Post and Courier. She previously covered the same beat for the Grand Rapids Press and MLive.com in Michigan. When she’s not reporting, Angie enjoys teaching yoga and exploring the outdoors.