MONCKS CORNER, SC (WCSC) - A judge rejected a motion to dismiss murder charges Friday against the man charged with shooting and killing two men in Goose Creek then burying them in his backyard.
James Loftis is charged with two counts of murder in the March 5 killings of Guma Dubar of North Charleston and James Cody Newland, of Ladson.
According to the affidavit, Loftis told police he took a cab home early Saturday from a night club. He got out of the cab and went inside his home. In a statement to police, Loftis says the cab driver and another person knocked on his door demanding the cab fare. Loftis says they pushed their way into his home. Loftis said he then got his gun firing eight shots, killing them both.
At a preliminary hearing Friday, defense attorneys made a motion to dismiss the charges or amend them to voluntary manslaughter in the heat of passion, claiming Loftis had the right to defend his home if he felt threatened.
"I don't think they can prove there is probable cause for a murder in this case. there's evidence the door was kicked in," defense attorney Stephen Harris, said. "There was a forced entry in this case. Therefore my client had every right in the world to defend himself."
But the prosecution countered, saying law enforcement found no sign of forced entry a the home.
The judge upheld the murder charges, which means Loftis' trial will proceed to trial under the standing murder charge.
Loftis attorney said he will request a pre-trial hearing under the "Castle Doctrine," which gives people the right to use deadly force to defend themselves in their home.
Investigators say Loftis told them the two men barged into his home over an unpaid cab fare. Loftis said he grabbed a gun, killed the men and burned their bodies before burying them.
Loftis is being held in the Berkeley County Detention Center. His attorney said he will seek bail.