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Slaying suspect nabbed after standoff in Conway

CONWAY - After a more than three-hour standoff in Conway, Horry County and state police caught a suspect wanted in a double homicide in Marlboro County, police said.

Allen Joe Gathings, 35, wanted in the deaths of a mother and son in Clio, had been sought since the victims were discovered dead on Saturday. He was charged with two counts of murder and grand larceny of an auto, police said.

A SWAT team, a negotiations team, a bomb team, a dog team and state officers surrounded a mobile home on Morris Carter Road in Conway after 4:30 p.m. and tried to reach the suspect via telephone, cell phone, rescue phone and loudspeaker, police said.

At 8 p.m., police flooded the house with tear gas and Gathings surrendered, Horry County Police spokesman Bob Carr said. Gathings was in the house alone, he said.

"I'm glad that we got him," Clio Police Chief Pearlie Thomas said. "He was a very dangerous person, and he needed to be picked up. There's no telling what he would do next."

Police received a tip that Gathings was in the Conway home. When they arrived, they saw movement inside and found the blue Corsica that was missing from the victims' home, Carr said.

Robbie Polston and Loyce Locklear were found beaten to death on Saturday in their Clio home. Police believe Gathings was Polston's roommate, Thomas said.

Gathings has an "extensive" criminal record, Thomas said. A records check showed prior convictions for forgery and assault and battery.

Police had been searching for Gathings in North Myrtle Beach, where they said he owned property.

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