Dawn Wilkins and Charles Bridges have been charged with murder (Source: CCSO)
Gary Stone (Source: Gary's sister)
Investigators continue to collect evidence at the scene (FOX Carolina/ November 10, 2017)
Scene of the crime in Gaffney (FOX Carolina/ Nov. 10, 2017)
GAFFNEY, SC (FOX Carolina) -
The Cherokee County sheriff said a woman and her son have been arrested and charged with murder after a man’s body was found cut into pieces under a mobile home.
Coroner Dennis Fowler said deputies made the grisly discovery Nov. 9 at the victim’s home on Harris Trail in Gaffney. Fowler identified the deceased as Gary James Stone, 51.
Sheriff Steve Mueller said Dawn Michelle Wilkins, 40, and Charles Jacob Bridges, 19, were charged with murder in the case. Mueller said Wilkins was Stone's common law wife and Bridges is her son.
Mueller said on Nov. 3, deputies were dispatched to a domestic incident at the home. When they arrived on scene, they spoke to Stone who indicated he and Bridges had been involved in an argument. Bridges was not on scene when deputies got there and they were told he walked away to cool off.
The sheriff believes later that night, Bridges choked and stabbed Stone in the yard before cutting up his body to hide it. Several weapons were used in the incident. He planned to dispose of the remains at a later time, according to the sheriff.
“It’s not normal to see this type of evil on a daily basis, even in law enforcement," Mueller said.
On Wednesday, Mueller said family members contacted law enforcement and were concerned about Stone's well-being since it was unusual they had not heard from him. No activity had occurred on his cell phone. Deputies said when the arrived at the home, they spoke to Wilkins and Bridges who agreed to let them search the residence, but the deputies did not see any sign of a struggle.
Deputies continued to investigate and got a phone tip on the morning of Nov. 9 indicating a murder had occurred at the home within the last few days. Investigators reached out to a magistrate's office to obtain a search warrant, which was executed around 3 p.m. After a little more than an hour on scene, Mueller said investigators pulled back the skirting on the mobile home and found bags and containers with bags inside them.
Inside the bags, they found the dismembered body.
Although Bridges initially denied being involved, Mueller said the teen asked for a subsequent interview with deputies Thursday night at which time he confessed to the killing. The teen told them he had been hit by Stone and overheard a dispute between the victim and his mother that upset him, according to the sheriff.
Investigators said they believe Wilkins was a willing participant in the homicide and may have helped move the body, although she denied involvement in the crime. The sheriff confirmed Wilkins is a registered sex offender and said she was arrested after the assault and battery of a 15-year-old male victim.
Mueller asked for prayers for his deputies who witnessed the gruesome scene.
“In 28 years this is probably the worse scene I have observed," he said. “It’s tough on our officers when you see such evil."
In a circuit court hearing on Dec. 18, Wilkins' bond was set at $150,000.
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