The roommate of a Goose Creek man whose burned body was found in a barrel in his backyard last month now faces a murder charge.
Shannon Maurice Smith Jr., 23, was previously charged in connection with stealing the victim's car. Goose Creek police said a murder warrant issued Wednesday for Smith's arrest represents a "significant milestone" in the homicide investigation that began Feb. 27.
Smith, who goes by the alias Marquis Owens, is jailed on local charges in St. Peters, Mo., while authorities apply for his extradition.
Officers were alerted to trouble when 68-year-old Michael Mullikin's daughter reported him missing the night of Feb. 27. She noted that his car was gone from the home at 469 Madeline Drive. Police discovered his remains in a barrel behind the residence, and authorities used DNA to positively confirm Mullikin's identity.
The investigation into his death took officers to Missouri, where authorities found Smith traveling in Mullikin's car in St. Peters, a suburb outside of St. Louis, on Feb. 28. Smith was arrested and charged with grand larceny for the alleged theft of Mullikin's 2017 Honda Civic.
A search of Mullikin's home indicated no signs of a break-in, but there was blood spatter consistent with a struggle. Lab tests showed a bloody fingerprint on a door frame belonged to Smith, according to an affidavit. Mullikin's blood was on an ashtray in the living room.
Mullikin's wallet was in the room that Smith rented.
Mullikin's daughter said two televisions and an Xbox were missing from the home. Two people who traveled with Smith to Missouri told police he sold a television to a man at a motel in Summerville, according to the affidavit. They thought he was leasing the Honda Civic.
Smith later told the police, an affidavit stated, that the car belonged to Mullikin, who was letting him borrow it. Police said that story didn't add up because Mullikin was supposed to babysit his grandchildren and the car was his only means of transportation.
Smith is also wanted on a weapons charge in North Carolina. He has no prior criminal history in South Carolina.