- Associated Press - Saturday, June 13, 2015

BLACKSBURG, S.C. (AP) - Two North Carolina men found dead in a burning pickup truck were shot by two other men during a drug deal in a South Carolina home, Cherokee County Sheriff Steve Mueller said.

Deputies began unfolding the mystery Thursday evening when someone called in a tip there had been a shooting at a Blacksburg home and evidence was being destroyed. When an officer arrived, he found Donald Creswell Jr. burning carpet and other items, Mueller said at a Friday night news conference.

“We clearly saw a crime had been committed,” the sheriff said. “There was evidence there that led our officers to believe someone had been shot.”

Several hours later, investigators heard two bodies had been found in a burning truck on a dirt road a few miles away in York County and made the connection, authorities said.

Creswell, 45, and Steven Parker, 33, are both charged with murder. It wasn’t known if they had lawyers.

The men were shot to death before being put in the pickup truck and driven to where it was set on fire, Mueller said.

The victims were identified as 35-year-old Aron Young and 43-year-old Jerry Farmer, both from Gastonia, North Carolina, said York County Coroner Sabrina Gast, who sent the bodies to a Charleston pathologist for an autopsy.

Creswell and Parker first planned to meet the victims in North Carolina for a drug deal, the sheriff said.

Young and Farmer “were spooked - thought these guys were setting them up. They talked later, talked them to coming down to Cherokee County to conduct a drug transaction. One of the gentlemen got up and began shooting both individuals in the home,” Mueller said.

Investigators are still trying to figure out whether anyone helped the suspects try to hide evidence and burn the bodies.

Both suspects had extensive criminal histories, with Parker committing an especially violent crime when he was a juvenile, said Mueller, who declined to give details.

“He has shown a history of snubbing his nose at the system,” the sheriff said of Parker.

The brutal crime shows how dangerous drugs are not just to users, but to everyone, Mueller said.

“People are addicted to drugs and they continue to want to use that product to harm themselves and others,” the sheriff said.

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