2 South Carolina men charged with killing, burying women

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (AP) — Two South Carolina men have been charged with murder after sheriff’s deputies found two bodies buried at a house just outside Spartanburg, authorities said.

The arrests came after one of the suspects shot himself in the head in front of deputies, survived, and subsequently told deputies he’d witnessed the other man kill his girlfriend.

Arrested Saturday were 39-year-old Jonathan Galligan and 41-year-old Christian Daniel Hurlburt, local news outlets report.

Deputies say that on Friday, they found buried the bodies of 27-year-old Christin Renee Bunner of Spartanburg and 40-year-old Melissa Fairlee Rhymer of Mountville. Galligan is charged with Bunner’s death, while Hurlburt is charged with killing Rhymer.

Both men are jailed without bail following a Saturday hearing. It’s unclear if they have lawyers who could comment for them.

Officers were called to a local towing service Wednesday concerning a disturbance. Hurlburt, who lives on the property, wouldn’t follow deputies’ commands, took out a gun and shot himself in the head. Wounded, he called deputies to his hospital bed Thursday and told them about Bunner’s death, saying he helped bury the woman in the yard at Galligan’s house. Hurlburt later confessed that he’d killed a second woman and buried her at the house, where Galligan lived at one time.

Deputies couldn’t find the bodies Thursday, but returned with cadaver dogs Friday. Authorities said the remains were found in graves that began about 18 inches (46 centimeters) below the ground.

“The dogs indicated in two areas,” said Spartanburg County Coroner Rusty Clevenger. “We went to those two areas and were able to find human remains. They are of two people.”

They interviewed Galligan on Friday, but released him after he demanded an attorney and asked to leave, said sheriff’s spokesman Lt. Kevin Bobo.

But later that day, the sheriff announced deputies were seeking to arrest Galligan. He was taken into custody Saturday at a convenience store. Hurlburt was taken to jail Saturday after he was released from the hospital. Both men are also charged with being accessories after the fact. Hurlburt is also charged with being a convicted felon in illegal possession of a gun.

Bunner had been missing since December and deputies say Galligan was her boyfriend.

“This man took my daughter,” said Renee Bunner, Christin Bunner’s mother, at the bail hearing. “She has been missing since December the 16th. Not only did he murder her, but he also tried to bury her.”

Deputies say Hurlburt told them he killed the second woman at the towing company in January, but said he didn’t remember her name. She was identified as Rhymer using fingerprints. Rhymer had not been reported missing to local law enforcement agencies.

Investigators said they don’t believe any more bodies are buried at the house.

Copyright © 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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