Crime

Victims of Socastee double murder shot and stabbed, car set on fire, police say

Suspects appear in front of judge in Socastee murder case

A magistrate denied bond to four suspects accused of murder for Socastee area killing. The victims were found stabbed in a burned car. Horry County police have yet to identify the victims.
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A magistrate denied bond to four suspects accused of murder for Socastee area killing. The victims were found stabbed in a burned car. Horry County police have yet to identify the victims.

The victims of a double murder were shot and stabbed before their car was set ablaze with gasoline on Friday morning, according to arrest affidavits.

On Monday, Horry County police provided narratives of the crime as part of arrest warrants for four suspects accused of the double murder. Officers found the car on Butler Road - near Enterprise Road in the Socastee area - at about 7 a.m. on Friday.

Horry County police charged Michael W. Faile, 37, with two counts of murder. David L. Cook, 44, faces two counts of murder, one count of arson and one count of possession of heroin. William D. Tatum, 37, was charged with two counts of murder, one count of arson, one count trafficking heroin and one count possession of scheduled drug. Zachary Stell, 31, was charged with two counts of murder and one count of arson.

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The Horry County coroner’s office has not identified the victims.

According to Stell’s arrest affidavit, an unidentified person told investigators that Stell and Cook lured the victims to a location where they “shot multiple times.” The person, whose information was redacted, then said Stell gave him money to buy gasoline.

The unidentified person said one victim was alive when he returned and he saw Stell and Cook stab the victims several times. Stell then set fire to the vehicle.

Before a Sunday bond hearing, Stell said he wasn’t worried about having his picture taken by media members as his DNA wouldn’t be found. He also said he wasn’t involved and it was the other three “junkies,” referring to the other three suspects in the room.

An Horry County magistrate denied bond for all four suspects as only a circuit court judge can set bond in murder cases.

Cook told police that he was paid for his role in the incident and said “at no time did he intend on or attempt to provide aid to the victims or contact police,” according to his arrest warrant.

At the bond hearing, Cook’s arms were heavily bandaged and taped. He became agitated when cameras were pointed at him before the hearing.

An arrest warrant for Tatum said he was present for the stabbing and provided “lookout and cleanup responsibilities.” The report also says Tatum bought an unidentified accelerant to set fire to the vehicle.

Faile’s arrest warrant says Tatum told investigators that Faile hired Cook and Stell to find one pound of stolen heroin or fentanyl.

Cook and Tatum also face drug charges as police found drugs on them later on Friday. Faile faces an additional drug charge when police said they found him with heroin on Sunday.

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