An Aiken County man was found guilty this week in the 2016 double homicide of an Edgefield County couple and sentenced to life without parole.
Dameion Edwin Thomas, 38, was found guilty of killing Charles and Andrea Deas, according to a news release from the South Carolina 11th Judicial Circuit Solicitor's Office.
On Oct. 9, 2016, a neighbor called 911 after seeing the Deas' home engulfed in flames on Marigold Street in Edgefield County, according to the news release.
Firefighters who arrived on the scene located the Deas' badly burned bodies in a bedroom where the fire originated.
Crews also described entering the home and locating several deceased dogs in the living room prior to locating the couple in the bedroom, the release states.
Firefighters also retrieved the barrel of a .22 rifle in what was left of the mattress springs.
An autopsy was conducted Oct. 11, 2016 and determined the couple died from multiple gunshot wounds to the head and chest area, according to the release.
Testimony at the trial stated both were shot from the back and were dead prior to their bodies being set on fire.
Bullets retrieved from both bodies were found to be from a .22 caliber weapon.
Law enforcement identified Thomas as a person of interest after he was captured on camera driving the victims' vehicle and using their debit card , according to the release.
Testimony and evidence revealed at the trial that Thomas had killed the victims shortly after lunch time on Oct. 9, 2016, drove around in their vehicle for several hours and came back in the evening to set their bodies on fire, the release states.
The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division Forensic Unit found gunshot residue on the shirt Thomas had been wearing on the day of the shootings and on the steering wheel of the victims' car, according to the release.
Testimony revealed that the couple had been having problems with Thomas.
A relative of Thomas testified that the suspect stated that he had “killed two people,” the release reads.
Testimony also included statements made by Thomas that put him at the victims’ home during the time period of their deaths.
Family members of the victims asked the court for the maximum sentence and described the sense of betrayal they felt at the hands of Thomas.
Judge Frank R. Addy said Thomas “took away all of the victims’ tomorrows” prior to sentencing the defendant to life in prison without the possibility of parole on both counts of murder, according to the release.
"This was an extremely difficult case that took a lot of hard work on the part of the prosecution team and law enforcement," Solicitor Rick Hubbard said in the release. "We hope the conviction and sentence brings closure for both of the victims’ families.”
Assistant Solicitors Robby McNair and Sutania A. Fuller handled the prosecution of this case for the 11th Circuit Solicitor’s Office. The investigation was led by the Edgefield County Sheriff’s Office with assistance from the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.