A man, who stands accused of killing a woman he was once married to and burning a Murrells Inlet bait shop she ran, was indicted on murder and arson charges last week.
A listing on the Georgetown County Public Index shows the state indicted Eric Justin Perry, 35, of Murrells Inlet on murder and arson charges on Nov. 29.
His charges stem from the killing of 36-year-old Jessica Hill on Sept. 29, and the burning of Perry’s Bait and Tackle along the Marshwalk at U.S. 17 Business, authorities said. Hill died from strangulation and head trauma, Kenny Johnson, Georgetown County coroner said previously.
A witness alleged he saw Perry setting fire to the shop and tried to stop him, according to an arrest warrant. Witnesses who called 911 to report the blaze said “someone was standing in front of the building, smoking a cigarette, watching it burn,” previously released police documents state.
Multiple agencies including, the Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Coast Guard and S.C. Department of Natural Resources, and others, worked together to find Perry following the fire. Georgetown County police said Perry was discovered operating a boat in the Murrells Inlet area with Hill’s body on board.
The bait shop was shuttered for about a week after it was damaged by fire and following Hill’s death.
For about a decade, Hill was the face of the longstanding bait shop. She was remembered in a special tribute on Oct. 2 when friends and family gathered to cast reels in her honor along the Inlet and shared messages and memories of her. She was beloved by the Murrells Inlet fishing community and well-known for her expert knowledge.