'Person of interest' in Holly Hill slayings has criminal background

'Person of interest' in Holly Hill slayings has criminal background

HOLLY HILL, SC (WIS) - The person of interest named in the Holly Hill quadruple murder investigation has an extensive criminal background.

The Orangeburg County Sheriff's Office said Michael Deroaknel Smith Jr., 26, was named publicly identified as a person of interest while in bond court Thursday on unrelated charges.

Smith appeared in bond court to hear his charges in connection with a police chase Wednesday. He was denied bond on charges of third offense possession with intent to distribute marijuana and failure to stop for a blue light after First Circuit Solicitor David Pascoe detailed Smith's criminal background. Pascoe said Smith was in trouble as a juvenile and has been arrested or in prison every year of his adult life. He has been convicted on numerous weapons and drug charges, as well as assault and battery. He has served time in prison and at other times received a probation sentence.

He has also been arrested for other violent crimes, such as murder, but was not convicted. Smith currently has charges pending in Berkeley County for assault and battery and strong arm robbery.

"Earlier this week, the defendant was developed as a person of interest that law enforcement wanted to talk to," Pascoe said, adding it took several agencies to find Smith at an Orangeburg apartment. "I want to make that perfectly clear. He is not, right now, a main suspect. He is definitely a person of interest that law enforcement wants to talk to in regard to that quadruple murder in Holly Hill."

The four victims have been identified as Jerome Butler, 50; Krystal Hutto, 28; Shamekia Sanders, 17; and Tamara Perry, 14; all of whom died at the scene. There was a fifth victim, an 8-year-old boy, who was taken to an area hospital after being shot in the incident.

"I would never, ever harm nobody's family or their children," Smith said in bond court Thursday. "I might fight somebody as you can see my record consists of that. Like I will fight you, but as far as committing other things with guns, everybody totes them. That's like life because there are so many things going on in the streets right now. But as for how they are trying to put me in front of these courts like I am a menace to society, I ran from them because I didn't want to go back to jail."

Christopher Wright, 36, has been charged on two outstanding State Law Enforcement Division  warrants for trafficking methamphetamine. The judge set bond at $15,000 for each of those charges. Wright has been released on bond.

Deputies also arrested Robert Bailey on unrelated charges of unlawful carrying of a pistol; manufacturing and possession of drugs; and narcotic drugs. Bailey was arrested after being questioned by investigators on the Holly Hill case.

As of this report, no one has been charged in the murders.

If you have any information that could help investigators, call Crimestoppers at 1-888-Crime-SC.

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