Escaped murder suspect recaptured

Harriet McLeod, Reuters

, Last Updated: 3:40 PM ET

CHARLESTON, S.C. - An escaped South Carolina mental hospital inmate charged with the 2006 murders of his mother and stepfather was captured in Tennessee on Friday, police said.

Jason Mark Carter, 39, drove away from the G. Werber Bryan Psychiatric Hospital in Columbia on Thursday in a stolen state-owned van. He had been working in a maintenance job at the hospital, said Tracy LaPointe, spokeswoman for the state Department of Mental Health.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol said in a statement troopers spotted Carter early on Friday at a hotel off an Interstate 40 exit west of Nashville. He was taken into custody without incident, it said.

Mental health officials said they did not know how Carter was able to escape from the 370-bed psychiatric hospital.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol said it appeared Carter stole a hospital van and later purchased a Chevrolet Lumina. He had checked into the hotel where he was found, but it was unclear how he got money to buy a car or pay for the room.

Carter was sent to the hospital after a judge in 2009 found him not guilty by reason of insanity in the murders of Kevin and Debra Ann Perkins, his stepfather and mother, said Rosemary Littleton, spokeswoman for the state's 10th Judicial Circuit Court.

Captain Greg Reed, head of criminal investigations for the Oconee County Sheriff's Office, said that in March 2006 deputies found Carter inside a locked room in the basement of a home with the couple's bodies, which were wrapped in plastic.

The couple had been shot and the bodies had been in the room for a couple of days, Reed said. No motive was established for the deaths.

"I don't think an insane man could have done all this. Even after he killed them, there was a lot of preparation involved in the wrapping of the bodies," Reed said. (Additional reporting by Eric M. Johnson; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Andrew Hay)


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