BERKELEY COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - A judge set bail Monday for the Goose Creek man accused of shooting, burning and burying two people in his backyard.
Bond for James Loftis was set at $250,000. 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.
Nearly two weeks ago, a judge denied a request to drop the murder charges against Loftis. His lawyer says this time, he plans to request a pre-trial hearing under South Carolina's "Stand Your Ground" law.
Officers responded to a home on South Pandora Drive the night of Sunday, March 6 after Loftis's wife reported her husband was suicidal and claimed to have killed two people and buried them in the back yard while she was out of town, according to Goose Creek Assistant Chief of Police Maj. John Grainger.
Officers discovered a "disturbed area of dirt" in the back yard. The Berkeley County Coroner's Office was called in to investigate after two bodies were located.
Both bodies were barely recognizable due to 100 percent thermal burns, Coroner Bill Salisbury said.
According to the affidavit, Loftis told police he took a cab home early from a night club that Saturday. He said he got out of the cab and went inside his home.
Loftis said the cab driver and another person later knocked on his door demanding the cab fare. He told police they pushed their way into his home. He then got his gun and fired eight shots, killing them both, he said.
At the hearing in April, defense attorney Stephen Harris said he didn't think the prosecution could prove probable cause for murder in the incident.
There's evidence the door was kicked in," he said. "There was a forced entry in this case. Therefore my client had every right in the world to defend himself."
Read about the Stand Your Ground, or the Protection of Persons and Property Act, here (Title 16, Article 6).