Man charged in Upstate 'barrel bodies' case

The victims. (Source: WYFF)
The victims. (Source: WYFF)
John Michael Young (Source: WYFF)
John Michael Young (Source: WYFF)

ANDERSON COUNTY, SC (WYFF) - A magistrate court judge formally charged John Michael Young with murder in the case of two bodies that were found inside barrels at Lake Hartwell.

Deputies said Young was arrested around midnight Saturday at a residence on West Lake Street in Iva. Investigators say community tips led them there.

On Sunday, Young was charged with two counts of murder and the unauthorized removal of a dead body.

Hours after his arrest on Saturday, Young appeared before Judge James Cox on other charges related to the investigation, including drug and pistol-related charges.

Young is being held at the Anderson County Detention Center.

On Friday, Young and Shaine David Fischer, both of Anderson, were named as suspects in the deaths of 37-year-old Andrea "Kellie" Mitchell, from Pendleton, and 52-year-old Tony Lamar McGinnis, from Starr.

Deputies said Fischer was already in custody. He is charged with two counts of accessory after the fact of murder. Investigators say he helped dispose of the bodies.

Deputies say Young killed McGinnis and Mitchell by causing blunt force trauma to the head. Investigators say it happened in the woods on Hix Road in Anderson County. They say they believe McGinnis was killed on or around September 15 and that Mitchell was killed on or around October 18.

Deputies executed a search warrant at Young's home on Friday and collected some evidence that News 4's Mandy Gaither said included knives and a chain saw.

Mitchell's body was found inside a barrel on Wednesday in Lake Hartwell. Coroner Greg Shore said her body may have been in the barrel for as long as 35 days.

Friday afternoon, Shore identified the body in the second barrel as that of McGinnis. Shore said McGinnis' body had been dismembered, but Mitchell's was not.

McGinnis had been reported missing several weeks ago. Anderson County deputies had last spoken to him in September, and no one had heard from him since.

Mitchell and McGinnis knew each other and deputies believe they were targeted. Investigators say the suspects were among the victims' group of friends.

Funeral arrangements have been set for Mitchell at the Brown-Ogelsby Funeral Home in Seneca. The family will receive friends Tuesday from 6pm to 8pm. A service takes place in the funeral home chapel on Wednesday at 3pm.

Mitchell left behind a husband, Randy, and two sons, Jacob and Jonathan.