- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 13, 2016

ORANGEBURG, S.C. (AP) - Authorities have charged a fourth man with murder in the killings of four people at a rural South Carolina home nearly 18 months ago in a case the Orangeburg County sheriff calls one of the most frustrating of his career.

Luther Smith, 35, was arrested Monday. Three others were arrested in September in the killings that Sheriff Leroy Ravenell said happened during a July 15, 2015, burglary at a house in Holly Hill where someone was selling illegal drugs.

Even more arrests are possible in a case that Ravenell said has consumed thousands of hours from investigators and had dozens of dead ends and uncooperative people.

“I’ve been in law enforcement for 30 years. I haven’t seen anything like this,” Ravenell said at a news conference Tuesday.

The sheriff released almost no details on what led them to arrest Smith some three months after Derrick Warren Coleman, 27; Anthony Jermaine Scott, 35; and Robert Lee Bailey, 30, were taken into custody.

Authorities say 17-year-old Shamekia Sanders, 14-year-old Tamara Perry, 28-year-old Krystal Hutto and 51-year-old Jerome Butler were all shot in the head and died. An 8-year-old boy, also shot in the head, survived, and Ravenell called him a “miracle person.”

The boy’s father, Christopher Wright, is charged with obstruction of justice. The sheriff said Wright sold drugs from the home and is not telling authorities everything he knows. Wright’s lawyer has said he is not hiding anything.

It wasn’t known if the other men charged with murder had lawyers to speak on their behalf.


This story has been corrected to note that Smith is the fourth man charged with murder.

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