‘I was a monster’: Raymond Moody pleads guilty to murder, kidnapping, rape of Brittanee Drexel
GEORGETOWN COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - A Georgetown County man pleaded guilty on Wednesday morning to the murder, kidnapping and rape of 17-year-old Brittanee Drexel.
Raymond Moody, 62, appeared in court for the first time where he entered a guilty plea in connection to the case and told a judge that he understood what he was pleading to and was satisfied with the representation.
During the hearing, Assistant Solicitor Scott Hixson broke down the facts of the case and what led them back to Moody after he was considered a person of interest in 2012.
Drexel was vacationing in Myrtle Beach in April 2009 when she disappeared. She was last seen outside the Blue Water Resort on Ocean Boulevard.
Hixson said that advancements in technology helped to track Drexel’s cellphone around Georgetown County, which included around the area of Waccamaw High School, the city of Georgetown and north of Hobcaw Barony.
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In April 2022, Moody’s girlfriend Angel Vause spoke with the FBI after the agency received information from a confidential informant about statements that she had made in regard to the Drexel case.
During the interview with the Vause, she offered to cooperate with the FBI and agreed to wear a wire and talk with Moody.
Following up on the interview with Vause, the FBI and Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office executed a search warrant on Moody’s home.
While they didn’t find any evidence, they had a face-to-face conversation with Moody who agreed to come in and have a sit-down conversation with law enforcement.
Then on May 5, Moody confessed to law enforcement what happened on April 25, 2009.
Moody said that he and Vause had driven up to Myrtle Beach to party when they saw Drexel walking down the street and asked if she wanted to party and smoke marijuana. According to Moody, Drexel voluntarily got into the vehicle and he didn’t attempt to hurt her in Horry County.
Moody said the three ended up at a campsite that Moody had in Georgetown County, where Moody admitted that he hoped during the course of the night that there would be consensual sex with Drexel.
At some point in the night, Vause left the campsite to attend to a family member and that’s when Moody came onto Drexel and she resisted his sexual advances, according to Moody. He told law enforcement that’s when he essentially kidnapped her and sexually assaulted her. Moody said once he realized what he had done he realized he was going to go back to prison and that’s when he strangled her. He said he put her in a blanket and moved her to some bushes in the area.
Moody said Vause returned to the area and asked where Drexel was and Moody said that friends came to pick her up.
At some point in the night, Moody ended up taking Drexel’s remains, went up Pennyroyal Road and took her to an area where he buried her, according to Moody.
Between May 11 and 12, authorities found some remains in the Harmony Township area where Moody said they would be, and dental records and DNA analysis confirmed it was Drexel.
After hearing the facts of the case, the judge said that he accepts Moody’s guilty plea.
Members of Drexel’s family also provided victim impact statements to the judge before making his decision on the sentencing.
Brittanee’s stepfather, Chad Drexel, tearfully addressed the court where he said that he had hoped that one day she would be found, but now he knows what was done to her 13 years ago.
“Thirteen years later, I find out the horrible and disgusting way she was murdered,” Chad Drexel said.
Brittanee’s brother, Camdyn Drexel, spoke in the courtroom. He was just five years old when Brittanee disappeared. He said that Brittanee was like a second mom to him and that he is now living for her.
The last person to give a victim statement was Brittanee’s mother, Dawn Pleckan, who had tirelessly been the voice and leader in the search for her daughter. She called for Moody to spend the rest of his life in a prison cell.
“I hope you suffer in prison for the rest of your useless life. I have no regard for you, just like you had no regard for my daughter’s life,” Pleckan siad.
Then finally once the state rested, Moody made a quick statement where he apologized for what he did to Brittanee Drexel.
“I was a monster. I was a monster then and I was a monster when I took Brittanee Drexel’s life,” Moody said. “I don’t have the words to express how horrible I feel... I’m very sorry.”
After all the statements were made, the judge sentenced Moody to life in prison for the murder, kidnapping and rape of Drexel.
The FBI released a statement on Moody’s guilty plea and sentencing, calling it the end of a long, dark chapter:
Today marks the ending of a long, dark chapter for Brittanee Drexel’s family and friends, the Myrtle Beach and Georgetown County communities, and all others who poured their heart and soul into finding the truth about what happened to Brittanee. The truth is she was kidnapped, sexually assaulted, and killed in a horrific and incomprehensible way.
The recovery of Brittanee’s remains in May, and now the guilty plea and sentencing is the culmination, in part, of the law enforcement efforts from the local, state, and federal level, as well as the countless other entities and individuals who played a role in bringing this case to this point.
The service of justice through this sentencing will never completely alleviate the grief of losing Brittanee, but it is our hope it can help the family continue their healing and focus on cherished memories she left behind.
Fifteenth Circuit Solicitor Jimmy Richardson explained that Moody will leave the Georgetown County Detention Center and he will go to Reception and Evaluation in Columbia, which is where every prisoner goes and the South Carolina Department of Corrections will determine which prison he will go to.
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