Man accused of orchestrating York Co. woman’s murder from prison, 7 others charged

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LAURENS COUNTY, SC (WSPA) – The Laurens County sheriff said eight people, including a prisoner serving time for murder, have been charged in connection to the murder of a York woman last month.

We reported earlier that the body of Michelle Marie Dodge, 27, was found dead in a wooded area on McDaniel Road in Laurens.

Deputy Coroner Vickie Cheek said Dodge died from a gunshot wound to the back of the head.

On Thursday, the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office said investigators worked with the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office and other local agencies in the three-county investigation that led to several arrests.

Michelle Dodge (photos courtesy of Beth McSparin)

According to a news release from the sheriff’s office, the following people have been charged for their involvement in the murder:

  • James Robert Peterson
    • Murder
    • Conspiracy to commit kidnapping
  • Aaron Carrion
    • Murder
    • Possession of a weapon during a violent crime
    • Kidnapping
    • Conspiracy to commit kidnapping
  • Aaron Sprouse
    • Murder
    • Possession of a weapon during a violent crime
    • Kidnapping
    • Conspiracy to commit kidnapping
  • Billy Wayne Ruppe
    • Accessory after the fact to murder
    • Criminal Conspiracy
  • Brandon Lee Phillips
    • Accessory before the fact to murder
    • Conspiracy to commit kidnapping
  • Lisa Marie Bolton
    • Kidnapping
    • Conspiracy to commit kidnapping
  • Lisa Marie Costello
    • Kidnapping
    • Conspiracy to commit kidnapping
  • Catherine Ross
    • Kidnapping
    • Conspiracy to commit kidnapping
    • Accessory after the fact to kidnapping

Laurens County Sheriff Don Reynolds said evidence indicates that Peterson, who is serving a 30-year sentence for murder, orchestrated Dodge’s killing from prison.

According to the release, multiple people played a role in Dodge’s kidnapping and murder.

“I want to thank our investigators, as well as the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office and other agencies for all of their hard work and dedication during this investigation. Both of our offices worked around the clock to bring justice to this senseless act of violence,” Sheriff Reynolds said.

An investigation into the case remains ongoing and more charges are pending.

A news conference is scheduled at 10 a.m. Friday at the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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