EDGEFIELD COUNTY, SC – 60-year-old Joseph Anthony McKinnon allegedly strangled his girlfriend to death and died of a heart attack while attempting to bury her, said police.
Neighbors in South Carolina are worried after a woman is killed and buried in her home. 🚨https://t.co/UJANsGQsDs
— KFOX14 News (@KFOX14) May 11, 2022
Edgefield County Sheriff Jody Rowland and Edgefield County Coroner David Burnett said in a statement:
“On Saturday morning Deputies along with the Edgefield County Coroner’s Office, and Edgefield County EMS responded to 102 Tanglewood Drive in Trenton, South Carolina to a call of an unresponsive man lying in his yard.
Joseph Anthony McKinnon, 60, of the same address was found to be deceased in his yard.
Mr. McKinnon had no signs of trauma and natural causes were suspected.
While investigating the death and making notifications to the next of kin, a second body, was located in a freshly dug pit.
Patricia Ruth Dent, 65, of the same address appeared to have died by foul play.
On Monday, autopsies were performed on both bodies, and the cause of death for Mr. McKinnon was confirmed to be a cardiac event.
Ms. Dent was found to have died by strangulation.
Evidence gathered at the scene, along with statements from witnesses aided investigators to build a timeline, leading us to believe that Mr. McKinnon attacked Ms. Dent while inside their home.
Mr. McKinnon then bound her and wrapped her in trash bags before putting her in the previously dug pit.
The pit was then partially filled in by Mr. McKinnon.
While covering the pit, Mr. McKinnon had the cardiac event, causing his death.”
The couple lived together.
One of Dent’s co-workers was concerned when she did not show up to work and reported her missing.
The body of Joseph Anthony McKinnon, 60, was discovered by Edgefield County police in his yard and upon further investigation, the body of Patricia Ruth Dent, 65, was located in a "freshly dug pit." https://t.co/62S1FNCFWe
— Newsmax (@newsmax) May 11, 2022
“We have no idea and that’s what we’re asking about.
At least let us know that it’s something they have in control or don’t have in control.
Do we have to make sure everything is locked up tight?
Watch our dogs or our animals?
We got a farmer back there, too, you know, it’s scary.”
ORLANDO, FL – Markeith Loyd, the man who was convicted of murdering his pregnant girlfriend, attempting to kill her brother, and killing an Orlando Police Sergeant, has learned his recommended fate from the jury – death.
The recommendation from the jury for Loyd to receive the death penalty was handed down on December 8th and praised by the Orlando Police Department.
Orlando Police released a statement regarding the decision:
“In the years since her death, Lieutenant Clayton’s loved ones and the entire OPD family waited for the day when the defendant would be held accountable for his heinous crimes. He will now face the highest penalty provided by the law.”
The Orlando Police Department also posted a tweet addressing the decision:
“Lt. Clayton believed in building relationships with the community. We will always remember our friend & coworker, & will do our best to live her legacy. Forever bridging the gap, Lieutenant Debra Clayton proudly served the @citybeautiful with Courage, Pride, & Commitment.”
Orange County Sheriff, John Mina, who was the Orlando Police Chief at the time Clayton was murdered by Loyd said:
“Nothing can erase the pain so many of us feel about the fact that Debra was murdered in cold blood as she worked to protect this community.
We will always be here for her family, and she will never, ever be forgotten. But today, there is some relief in knowing that we can move forward and never have to hear the name Markeith Loyd again.”
When the recommendation was read from the jury, Loyd began yelling from his seat that he wanted to be sentenced then and not wait until the judge makes her determination later. Loyd continued with his outbursts to the point that the judge ordered him removed from the courtroom.
Loyd was convicted of shooting and killing Master Police Sergeant Clayton, who was posthumously promoted to lieutenant, while he was running from police after shooting and killing his pregnant ex-girlfriend.
Another officer who died as a result of the ensuing pursuit of Loyd after Clayton was killed was Orange County Deputy Norman Lewis. Lewis was killed when his police motorcycle struck a van during the pursuit.
Loyd’s first trial, where he was convicted of killing his pregnant girlfriend and attempting to kill her brother, made national news because of the Democratic State Attorney Aramis Ayala’s decision not to pursue the death penalty.
Ayala swore that she would never request the death penalty be imposed on anyone, regardless of the reason.
When this news broke, former Republican Governor Rick Scott stepped in and removed Ayala from that case and assigned another prosecutor. In that case, the court found him guilty and sentenced him to life in prison.
Before the recommendation was handed down, Loyd’s defense attorney, Terry Lenamon, tried to get the jury to consider that he suffered from mental illness and that he was injured during his arrest in 2017.
In that situation, officers utilized what is known as a distraction technique to ensure their safety and prevent Loyd from physically resisting or retrieving any type of weapon he may have had on his person.
It should be noted that the officers were exonerated for their use of force during the arrest which left Loyd permanently scared.
Lenamon pleaded with the jury:
“If you believe life is the appropriate sentence, I’m asking you, please, please, please, give him life.”
However, the jury considered the aggravating factors which were presented by the prosecution in the case, including the violent criminal history Loyd had even before murdering his girlfriend who was pregnant with his child.
The Ninth Judicial Circuit Judge, Leticia Marques, will have the final say in terms of what sentence Loyd receives. Marques is not bound by the jury’s recommendation and will make her decision possibly in January of 2022.
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Now speculation on the manner he was arrested is being resurrected these days, and some say it’s because Loyd happens to be black and his apprehension wasn’t exactly pretty.
However, after an investigation by the State’s Attorney’s Officer and the Orlando Police Department, findings concluded that officers who utilized force during Loyd’s arrest were justified.
What led to Loyd’s January 17th, 2017 arrest was what happened outside of a Walmart just eight days prior to. On January 9th, 2017, Orlando police Lt. Debra Clayton was attempting to enact an arrest against Loyd outside of the Walmart for another murder that he was suspected of.
Loyd was believed to have killed his pregnant girlfriend in December of 2016, 24-year-old Sade Dixon. When Lt. Clayton confronted Loyd, he opened fire on the police lieutenant. Lt. Clayton was able to return fire, but Loyd was adorning a bullet proof vest, and was seemingly unaffected.
Police described the manner in which Lt. Clayton was murdered as “execution style” – as she was shot four times by Loyd.
Medical experts said that Lt. Clayton would have likely survived three of the gunshot wounds she sustained, but Loyd reportedly stood over her grounded body and shot her three more times which one of them was in the neck.
RIP Officer Debra Clayton, she was a 42 yr old wife and Mother of one. Debra was shot multiple times entering a Walmart attempting to apprehend a suspect who had just murdered his pregnant ex-girlfriend, please join me in honoring this hero!
HER LIFE MATTERED!? pic.twitter.com/OvdLoNhYkH
— ???????? 6.0 HONORING OUR BLUE EVERY DAY! (@TrumpRulzz) June 24, 2020
Thus, when police tracked down the suspect, they were on high alert given the allegations levied against Loyd at the time.
A 51-page rep
Four officers, identified as Sgt. James Parker, Sgt. Anthony Mongelluzzo, Officer Cedric Hinkles and Officer Jonathan Cute, were those to have administered varying degrees of force against Loyd during his apprehension.
When officers first encountered the suspect at the home located on Lescot Lane, Loyd was at the rear of the house and reportedly did not surrender, but instead made his way into the home. Loyd then attempted to escape from a carport, but was confronted by officers yet again.
Loyd then was said to have thrown two guns outside of the front door of the home, before then engaging in what can be best described as a “war crawl” by being sprawled out on his stomach and using his arms to crawl forward.
Officers were immediately suspicious of the display, concerned as to whether or not this was some kind of a ploy to trick officers. Sgt. Parker noted the following about the arrest:
“The evening that we located him everybody was on high alert. We thought for sure he was trying to go down in a blaze of glory.”
The four officers delivered a series of strike with their hands, feet, and weapon muzzles to Loyd’s back and face during the arrest. Another of the concerns was that Loyd was again wearing a bullet-proof vest while being taken into custody, which officers wondered if he was concealing a weapon inside of the vest laying on his chest.
Of the report released, an officer’s name who was redacted stated the following about the arrest:
“I had it pictured, he’s going to roll because everyone… now you’ve got three to four guys within hand’s reach of this guy and obviously the only thing he could conceal in his pants would be a handgun at the time.”
While the officer whose name was redacted wasn’t among those to employ any force against Loyd, it’s telling of the worry that was present by all the officers who were involved in placing Loyd into custody:
“It’s going to be fast, even if he gets hit by us he’s going to at least take one more person with him and that’s my God’s honest thought that I had in that time frame.”
The use of force resulted in Loyd losing one eye, and suffered some cuts and bruising on his face. While the document detailing the investigation was lengthy, it concluded with the following:
“Given the totality of the circumstances, (the officers) used force which they reasonably believed necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to themselves, fellow officers of nearby civilians.”
A use of force is never going to be pretty, and is often chaotic appearing in nature – but when dealing with accused murderers of pregnant women and police, officers are likely to be dealing with someone unpredictable and not thrilled about going to prison.
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