Suspect in Bluffton mother's murder held without bail

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Suspect in Bluffton mother's murder held without bail

By DAVID W. MacDOUGALL postandcourier.com
Published Friday, August 27, 2010   |  446 Words  |  news

CHARLESTON -- A Bluffton woman who was stabbed to death and left on the side of a rural
dirt road had skin and dirt under her fingernails and wounds on her arms indicating she had fought for her life, according to an arrest warrant filed against the man accused of killing her.
Darold L. Drayton, 32, of S.C. Highway 46, Bluffton, is charged with murder in the death of Alexis J. Lukaitis, a 27-year-old mother of twin boys.
Drayton was being held without bail in Charleston County Detention Center after a bond hearing Friday.
Investigators with the Charleston County Sheriff's Office charged Drayton in the case three days after Lukaitis' body was found Aug. 9 on the side of Old Jacksonboro Road in the southern portion of the Charleston County.
According to the arrest warrant, Lukaitis had been stabbed in the throat and chest. An autopsy revealed the defensive wounds.
About two hours after her body was found, Lukaitis' fiance, Michael Bartley, called the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office to report that she and her car were missing.
Lukaitis had told Bartley she was driving to Charleston on Aug. 8 with Drayton to get some prescription pills, the warrant said.
Her car was found Aug. 11 at a boat landing in Bluffton. Blood was found inside and outside the car, and in the trunk. A spare tire and a tire cover were missing, the warrant said.
Beaufort County sheriff's deputies arrested Drayton Aug. 11 on an unrelated drug charge. During an interview subsequent to the drug arrest, he told detectives he and Lukaitis were friends, and he would occasionally provide her with prescription pills, the warrant said.
Drayton's cousin reported that Drayton had come to him with injuries and asked for help, the warrant said. The cousin also reported finding blood-covered items in his trash can, including a spare tire and a tire cover.
Before Drayton could be brought to Charleston County on the murder charge, he had to face charges of failure to register as a sex offender and simple possession of marijuana in Beaufort County.
During the bond hearing Friday, Charleston County Magistrate Priscilla Baldwin said she could not set bail on a murder charge. Only a circuit court judge can do so.
Baldwin asked the victim's fiance if he wanted to say anything.
His voice choking, Bartley said he didn't know what to say.
"I've never had to do this before," he said. "I was with her 12 years. She was the mother of my children, twin boys."
Bartley and several other relatives of Lukaitis left the courtroom without speaking to reporters.