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South Carolina authorities say man confessed to killing 5 after he’d been on meth for days

A man who authorities said confessed to killing five people and told them he’d been high on methamphetamines for days has been arrested in the fatal shootings in South Carolina.

James Douglas Drayton, 24, was taken into custody Monday morning in Georgia after officials said he stole a car, committed an armed robbery and fled, Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright told reporters Tuesday.

Drayton is accused of murder and other crimes in the fatal shootings at a house in Inman, 10 miles northwest of Spartanburg.

This house is the location of the shooting in Inman, S.C.
This house is the location of the shooting in Inman, S.C.Google Maps

Drayton lived at the home for two weeks, the sheriff’s office said in a statement. The five victims also lived at the house, the department said.

Thomas Ellis Anderson, 37; Adam Daniel Morley, 32; Mark Allen Hewitt, 59; and Roman Christean Megael Rocha, 19, were killed, the sheriff’s office said.

NBC affiliate WYFF of Greenville identified the fifth victim, James Derek Baldwin, 49, citing Spartanburg County Coroner Rusty Clevenger.

Authorities responded to the house at 7:45 p.m. Sunday and found four people fatally wounded, the sheriff’s office said. A fifth person taken was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead.

Wright said authorities believed the shootings occurred about 9 a.m. Sunday.

The scene was “horrific,” he said.

The coroner previously said that four of the victims were each found in a different room.

Authorities say Drayton stole a car from the home and drove more than 100 miles south, where he is accused of robbing a convenience store cashier at gunpoint in Hephzibah, Georgia, according to an incident report obtained by WYFF.

The car had been reported stolen, and deputies who spotted it early Monday pursued Drayton at speeds topping 80 mph, the station reported. Drayton allegedly wrecked and fled on foot but was caught shortly after, according to the station.

Investigators from Spartanburg County traveled to Georgia and interviewed Drayton, who confessed and said that he was “hearing voices,” Wright said.

“I don’t know what that means to him,” Wright said. “I know that he had been using meth, and he had been up for like, four days. Someone that hadn’t slept in four days — they’re probably not thinking.”

It wasn’t clear when Drayton would be extradited to South Carolina. It also wasn’t clear if he has a lawyer to speak on his behalf.

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