“The investigation revealed that the three suspects planned to rob the two victims during a drug deal, but something went wrong and the men were shot to death in the parking lot. The three suspects fled the scene,” Newberry Sheriff Lee Foster said.
Michael Anton Foster, 21, of 167 Fox Briar Court, Newberry, was taken into custody over the weekend.
Victor Maurice Carter, 21, of 231 Twisted Lane, Blair, was arrested Monday afternoon.
Both men were charged with two counts of murder and armed robbery.
Foster says that these two men “were acting in concert” with Zachery Travorous Bookman, 22, of 657 Meadow Lane, Newberry, who was arrested Friday morning. Bookman was the first charged with two counts of murder and armed robbery in the case.
Ralph Lovelace Harp, 30, of 221 Cemetery Road, Greenwood, and Donald Eugene Springs Jr., 36, of 200 Rosenwald St., Saluda, were found dead in the parking lot of Horne’s Country Store at the intersection of S.C. highways 34 and 39 on the afternoon of Jan. 7.
A passerby noticed Harp’s body lying on the ground by the store’s kerosene pump. A closer look by the passerby and the store’s clerk revealed that Harp was dead. Meanwhile, Springs’ body sat in a white Oldsmobile about 50 yards from the store.
Harp was shot once in the back. The bullet tore through his right lung before exiting his chest. Springs was shot in the back of the head, with the bullet exiting through his forehead. Both men died within a minute of being shot, the coroner said.
The double homicide brought law enforcement agents to the northwestern portion of the Newberry County where it converges with Saluda, Greenwood and Laurens counties, as a widespread manhunt began in all four counties. The hunt included officers from the four counties going door-to-door for clues and to ensure residents were safe.
“Investigators are fairly convinced they know who fired the deadly shots. However, no information related to the shooter(s), the number of weapons involved, or any specific crime scene information will be released, to protect the integrity of the case as it moves forward through the court system to trial,” said Foster.
Foster said that regardless of who actually fired the shots, all three men are responsible for the deaths because of their participation prior to, during and after the killings.
Investigators believe all the suspects responsible for the shooting are in custody, according to Foster.
“More arrests are expected for those who assisted the suspects in their attempt to elude law enforcement by giving false information to officers searching for them,” promised Foster.
All three suspects are being housed at the Newberry Detention Center and are awaiting bond hearings, which must be held by a circuit court judge because of the severity of the crime and its sentence.
If you have any information about this case, please contact the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office at 803-321-2211 or www.newberrycountysheriff.com. Tips can also be made to Crime Stoppers at 1-888-CrimeSC, www.sccrimestoppers.com or text tips to “TIPSC plus your message” to CRIMES (274637).