Orangeburg investigators name person of interest in Holly Hill murders

Published: Jul. 23, 2015 at 7:51 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 23, 2015 at 10:45 PM EDT
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Authorities investigating the scene of the shooting. (Source: WCSC)
Authorities investigating the scene of the shooting. (Source: WCSC)

ORANGEBURG COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - The Orangeburg County Sheriff's Office has identified a person of interest in connection to the shooting deaths of four people in Holly Hill.

According to the sheriff's office, 26-year-old Michael Deroaknel Smith, Jr. of Moncks Corner was named as a person of interest by First Circuit Solicitor David Pascoe on Thursday.

OCSO officials say Smith was taken into custody on Tuesday after a high speed chase that saw speeds reach more than 100 mph. The chase started when a deputy reported that he attempted to conduct a traffic stop on Smith's car to which he failed to stop, and fled the scene until he wrecked his car.

Smith was charged by the sheriff's office with failure to stop for a blue light and two counts of possession of a controlled substance.

In addition, Smith was wanted on a Berkeley County warrant for robbery.

Orangeburg County magistrate Jacob Gillens denied bond at the request of OCSO Investigator Riley Godwin and First Circuit Solicitor David Pascoe.

The sheriff's office states Pascoe told the court Smith had an "incredibly extensive" criminal record, and also that Smith is a person of interest in four murders on Old State Road in Holly Hill.

"Pascoe stressed that investigators are only looking at Smith as a person of interest not a suspect," said Richard Walker, public information officer for the sheriff's office.

Sheriff Leroy Ravenell said the multiple homicide investigation has been non-stop since it was first called in on July 15.

"We want to reassure the community we have been tracing out every new lead, interviewing anyone even remotely connected with it, including Mr. Smith," Ravenell said."We can't rest until this is resolved."

The July 15 shooting took the lives of Jerome Butler, 50, Krystal Hutto, 28, Shamekia Sanders, 17, and Tamara-Alexia Perry, 14.

An 8-year-old who was hurt during the shooting remains in critical condition after suffering a gunshot wound.

On Monday, Ravenell said said detectives have questioned numerous individuals, and were asking anyone who may have information to call the sheriff's office or Crime Stoppers at (843) 554-1111.

Last week, a spokesperson with the sheriff's office said Sanders and Perry are the daughters of Christopher Wright, 36, of Holly Hill, who was arrested on two outstanding drug warrants from SLED.

Those charges are unrelated to the homicide.

Copyright 2015 WCSC. All rights reserved.