GEORGETOWN, S.C. (WMBF) – A man pleaded guilty Monday to murder and third-degree arson in the death of a woman who owned a Murrells Inlet bait shop.
Eric Perry, 36, killed 37-year-old Jessica Hill in September 2017 and set fire to her business, Perry’s Bait and Tackle on Highway 17 Business.
The two were reportedly in a relationship for more than 10 years and had three children together.
Georgetown County authorities searched for Perry after the fire at the bait and tackle shop and found him on his boat in the inlet. They said Hill’s body was recovered from the boat.
“We appreciate the dedication by all the public safety officials who assisted in bringing this defendant to justice especially the team at the Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office, who coordinated the efforts and worked tirelessly during the investigation,” Chief Deputy Solicitor Scott Hixson said. “We also recognize the help provided by citizens and business owners in the Murrells Inlet community who provided information and assistance to law enforcement.”
The Georgetown County Coroner’s Office said Hill died from strangulation and head trauma.
Multiple law enforcement officers worked on the case and included members of the Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office, Horry County Police Department, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Coast Guard, State Law Enforcement Division, Murrells Inlet-Garden City Fire Department and the Horry County Sheriff’s Office.