Upstate man admits choking, throwing dead adoptive mom in trash can

GAFFNEY, S.C. (WYFF) -A Gaffney man received a 35-year prison sentence after he admitted to choking his adoptive mother to death and placing her body in a roll-out garbage container.

Brandon Scott Knuckles, 45, pleaded guilty to murder, financial transaction card fraud, financial transaction card theft and possession of a stolen vehicle. He will serve every day of Circuit Judge Keith Kelly's prison sentence. He is not eligible for parole.

Gaffney police discovered the body of Marjorie L. Knuckles, 78, on Feb. 3, 2013. The body was found in the back yard of the Hetty Hill Street home she shared with her son. Ms. Knuckles' family told police their loved one and her car had been missing for days.

Police found Brandon Knuckles sleeping in a Homestead Lodge hotel room the next morning. Ms. Knuckles' car was found in a nearby parking lot. After he was initially taken into custody, Brandon Knuckles claimed to not know anything about his mother's disappearance. His story changed when police told him he failed a Polygraph test. Brandon admitted he got into an argument with his mother that turned physical when he grabbed his mother around her neck and they fell in the living room of the family home. He said he landed on top of her and started choking her. Brandon Knuckles stood up and kicked his mother a few times before pulling the body in a nearby bedroom and wrapping it in a blanket. He then placed the body in the trash can and took it outside. Police found the trash can behind an outbuilding.

During their investigation, police learned that Brandon Knuckles used Ms. Knuckles' credit card 10 times between the time of her death and his arrest.

"A 35-year prison term is a life prison sentence for Brandon Knuckles," Solicitor Barry Barnette said. "I hope the family can rest easier throughout the holiday season knowing the court case is over."

Marjorie Knuckles was a retired school teacher who was active in the community. Two family members spoke on her behalf during the guilty plea.

Brandon Knuckles' prior criminal record included 2 convictions for financial transaction fraud.

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