New murder charges in 2005 killing of Horry Cty couple
Thu, 04 Jun 2009 04:09:46 GMT —
More than four years have gone by since an Horry County couple was murdered in their home in the Nixonville community off Highway 90.
In 2005, Richard Gagnon was arrested and charged in the murders of Charles and Diane Parker, then in 2008 he was sentenced to life in prison. Now, police have another suspect.
The Horry County Police Department say they've matched DNA samples found at the crime scene the night of the murders with DNA belonging to 24-year-old Bruce Antwain Hill.
After the 2005 Parker murders, police collected the DNA sample from the crime scene, but could not match it with anyone. They sent those samples to SLED for possible future comparisons.
Then in 2006, police responded to a home invasion near Longs in Horry County. DNA samples were collected from that crime scene and also belonged to an unknown suspect. The DNA was turned over to SLED for possible future comparisons.
Since then, Horry County Police say Bruce Antwain Hill was arrested in Tennessee on unrelated charges. A DNA sample was taken from Hill while in the Tennessee jail. Police say his DNA sample matched the samples taken from the two Horry County crime scenes -- the 2005 Parker murders and the 2006 home invasion near Longs.
Police have now charged Hill with two counts of murder, and first degree robbery from the 2005 incident. He's also charged with assault and battery with intent to kill, armed robbery, and first degree burglary stemming from the 2006 incident.
Richard Gagnon, currently serving life in prison after his 2008 conviction for killing Charles and Diane Parker, was at the time of the murders, the boyfriend of Bambi Bennett. Bennett was the daughter of Diane and the step-daughter of Charles Parker.
Bennett herself was at one time also charged in the murder of her mother and step-father, but those charges were later dropped due to a lack of evidence.
Friends and neighbors of Charles and Diane say their community and the Parker family has been through a lot -- from multiple arrests, suspicions, and most devastating, two lives lost.
"It was a bad situation. Charlie and Diane didn't ever hurt anybody -- as I've known, and I've known them a long, long time," said W.L. Holmes, a neighbor and friend of the Parkers for more than 40 years.
"I think this is a good thing," added Holmes about the new charges, "I knew there was somebody else they were looking for, but I sure didn't think they'd ever catch him."
Charles and Diane Parker were a well-known couple in the Nixonville area. The couple ran a small glass business called Mirrortec. Now friends say all they want is closure.
"I think it'll make everybody rest a little better. If you do the crime, you're supposed to do the time," said Holmes.
Though other neighbors say, while they want those responsible brought to justice, some say it does little for the lives of Charles and Diane Parker, who have already lost theirs.
Meanwhile, police say Hill will serve the rest of his current sentence in Tennessee, then come back to Horry County where he'll face his new murder charges.