Bond denied for suspect in 89-year-old Liberty woman’s homicide


LIBERTY, S.C. (WSPA) – Liberty Police and Pickens County Sheriff’s Office held a briefing Tuesday to provide details on the murder of 89-year-old Margaret Alice Karr.

Thomas James Chapman
(Source: Pickens County Sheriff’s Office)

Police Chief Adam Gilstrap said late Saturday night into Sunday morning suspect, Thomas James Chapman, of Liberty, broke into the home on Mills Avenue, stole from the victim and sexually assaulted her. According to arrest warrants, Chapman strangled Karr during the assault and she was severely injured.

 “To have someone come in and just violate her home and herself, I just think that it’s really sad,” said Jullian Aiken, neighbor.

According to Gilstrap, Chapman then left the residence before returning to Karr’s home with a knife and slitting her throat.

“It was very much a shock…to come hear about what happened…and then the full details of what happened, it’s awful,” said Sherry Trent, next door neighbor.

Chapman is charged with murder, first degree criminal sexual conduct, two counts of first degree burglary, assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature, possession of a weapon during a violent crime and larceny. He was denied bond Tuesday morning.

As Chapman faces these charges, many said they are choosing not to focus on the violence of Karr’s death, but to remember her spirit.

“Everybody did love her. She was a great Christian lady and showed it everyday,” said Sheriff Rick Clark, Pickens County Sheriff’s Office.

Memories her family hopes all will keep fresh on their minds, as the woman they call a pillar is gone too soon.

“It’s our hope and expectation that justice will be served on behalf of Alice Karr. And when that justice is served that the family and all of us can turn and remember Alice’s life rather than her death,” said Mark Wells, victim’s son-in-law.

Investigators say Chapman was identified as a potential suspect during a canvas of the neighborhood after Karr’s body was discovered on Easter. No other arrests are expected at this time.

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