21-year-old Columbia man charged with killing roommate

Mykell Lerch (Source: Lexington County Detention Center)
Mykell Lerch (Source: Lexington County Detention Center)

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A 21-year-old strangled a 32-year-old man during an argument on Seminole Drive, according to the West Columbia Police Department.

Police arrested Mykell Lerch on Friday and charged him with the murder of Mark Alexander Zeigler.

According to investigators, Lerch and Zeigler were arguing early Thursday morning when Lerch strangled Zeigler during the disagreement.

Officials arrived at the home later that morning and found Lerch in the front yard.

Lerch is currently being held at the Lexington County Detention Center awaiting a bond hearing scheduled for Saturday morning.

People who live in the neighborhood are concerned.

"Just couldn't understand," said neighbor Gwen Fleming. "The first thing you think, is it a danger to us?"

Fleming has lived in the house across the street from what's now a crime scene for 23 years.
When she woke up Thursday morning she was startled by what she saw.

"At one time I counted 13 police and plain cars," she said.

West Columbia Police Chief Dennis Tyndall said when officers arrived at the home, there was a man in the street who appeared to be distraught.

"We got there and there was a man standing in the roadway with blood on him," Tyndall said. "As we investigated that case we found another gentleman inside who had been choked to death."

The man standing in the road was Lerch. Police say he had been living at the home with the victim and his wife.

"There was an altercation on the inside," Tyndall said. "They were fighting and a table was busted."

The investigation continues into what exactly happened inside 1137. That's why the yellow crime scene tape is still there.

And although it won't be forever, neighbors like Fleming hope nothing like this happens close to home in the future.

"We just hope something like this never happens again," she said. "And we sure do feel bad for all the people involved and especially for their families because some people are hurting."

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