Man charged with double murder escapes from Columbia mental health facility

Jason Mark Carter (Source: Oconee County Sheriff)
Jason Mark Carter (Source: Oconee County Sheriff)
The scene of the 2006 murders. (Source: WYFF)
The scene of the 2006 murders. (Source: WYFF)

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - UPDATE: Jason Mark Carter was apprehended in Tennessee.
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There is still no sign of a man once charged with double murder who escaped from a mental health facility in Columbia Thursday.

39-year-old Jason Mark Carter is at large.

The South Carolina Department of Mental Health says Carter left a mental health facility in Northeast Richland County off Farrow Road late Thursday morning.

Agency spokesman Mark Binkley says Carter was working at a supply business on the hospital's campus. He says an investigation is underway to determine how the involuntarily committed patient got away.

On Friday, Binkley said the agency is coordinating search efforts with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division. He plans to offer an update later in the day.

In an original news release, the Oconee County Sheriff's Office said Carter was convicted of the 2006 murders of his mother and stepfather in Seneca. But the sheriff's office later said Carter was ruled incompetent to stand trial and was committed to the mental health facility. Carter was not convicted.

During his trial, Carter's defense attorney said the defendant did not remember killing Kevin and Debra Ann Perkins.

Testimony showed deputies believed Carter, slept, ate, and drank in the room with the two bodies, which were wrapped in plastic for three days, until police showed up at the home to check on the couple.

Carter was in the home when investigators discovered the bodies.

Experts during Carter's trial testified that with medication, Carter's condition could be controlled. It's unclear if Carter escaped the facility with any medication.

Carter is described as a white male, about five feet ten inches tall, weighing 165 pounds with hazel eyes and brown hair. He was last seen wearing a black coat with a black and white sweater and brown cargo pants.

He may be traveling in a white 1991 Chevy van with a tag of SG61580 with the number 244 on the bumper. A department of mental health spokesperson says a white van matching the same description is missing.

If you see Carter, call 911 or Crimestoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC.

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