Couple killed at RV camp on lake — (The State)

Original article no longer available

The State

By ISHMAEL TATE and ADAM BEAM – itate@thestate.com, abeam@thestate.com

Ex-boyfriend is charged with murder in Monday night shootings

LEXINGTON COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT – Roger Clifford Cochran III went to the Siesta Cove RV Park late Monday night to try to win back the woman who had been his girlfriend for five years, his attorney said.

Instead, the Pelion father of three found Vicki Newman Marcus asleep in bed with her new boyfriend, Gary Wayne Stone, woke them up and shot them multiple times with a .45-caliber Ruger semi-automatic handgun, Lexington County Sheriff James R. Metts said.

Cochran, of Water Tank Road, is charged with two counts of murder in the deaths of Marcus, 50, and Stone, 52, who both lived in the John Long Road camper.

“He was present, but we don’t know all the facts and the circumstances,” said Richard Briebart, who, along with Maura Dawson, is representing Cochran.

Marcus’ 14-year-old son and an unidentified 48-year-old man who knew Cochran were watching football in the camper’s living room when Cochran showed up, Metts said.

A neighbor, who asked not to be identified, said he heard raised voices and commotion coming from the camper about 11:15 p.m. Then he heard quick thumping sounds, which he later learned was gunfire.

A short time later, the man and his wife heard sirens and saw blue lights from police cars, he said.

Marcus and Stone had been staying at the RV park a short time but did not own the camper, said Siesta Cove Marina & RV Park owner Norm Swalgren.

He said the RV park, on the southwest shore of Lake Murray, includes full-time and weekend residents and a mix of people.

“The people out there get along; we try to keep it going in the right direction,” Swalgren said by phone as he returned to the RV park from an out-of-town trip. “This thing was a tragedy.”

Tuesday morning, the white Dutchman Classic camper with the wooden front porch was roped off with police tape. A pair of blue shorts and a T-shirt hung from a rafter. A white mattress stained with blood leaned against the rail.

Deputies found the couple in the camper’s master bedroom, Metts said.

Marcus’ body was between the wall and the bed. A preliminary autopsy showed she had been shot multiple times in the upper torso and died at the scene, Lexington County Coroner Harry O. Harman said.

Stone was found wounded, lying on the bed, and was pronounced dead at a local hospital. He had been shot in the upper and lower torso, Harman said.

Deputies found Cochran at a relative’s house in Red Bank about 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.

Cochran is cooperating with investigators, Metts said, and “has given them a great deal of information which we are in the process of corroborating.”

Cochran suffers from “severe depression” and takes “several types of drugs,” Briebart said. He had not taken his depression medication for several days when he went to see Marcus on Monday night.

“He has no prior record; he’s as clean as a whistle,” Briebart said. “He’s a welder, just a regular guy.”

Metts said his investigation hasn’t turned up any evidence Cochran intended to reconcile with Marcus when he went to the RV park. He also said he didn’t know whether Cochran was being treated for depression.

Cochran, who is being held at the Lexington County jail, is scheduled for his first appearance in court at 8:30 this morning in front of a magistrate judge. He also faces one count of first-degree burglary and three counts of possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime, Metts said.

Cochran’s bail won’t be set at that hearing. Since he faces a life sentence if convicted on the murder charges, his bail must be set by a circuit judge.

Briebart said he would not ask for bail until he can “get a pretty clear picture of (Cochran’s) mental condition.”

Reach Tate at (803) 771-8549. Reach Beam at (803) 771-8405.