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Man charged with murder after woman's body found in fire

South Carolina officials reported that the body of a woman that was found after a fire that occurred on Oct. 10 showed that she had been shot to death before the fire occurred. The woman was identified as a 39-year-old and a 38-year-old man was charged with murder the same afternoon.

The fire occurred at a residence located in the 100 block of Crestmore Drive. The woman's body was found in the debris after the blaze was extinguished. An autopsy on the woman's body was completed, which showed that she had been beaten and strangled before being shot. It was not clear what actually caused her death, though all three were factors. The autopsy showed that she had died before the fire was set.

Authorities said that the accused 28-year-old man and the deceased woman were acquaintances. The man had a number of previous convictions, including second-degree arson and a criminal domestic violence conviction. If he is convicted on the murder charge, he could potentially face the death penalty or life in prison.

Under South Carolina law, those who are accused of murder and other violent crimes are at risk for being sentenced to lengthy prison sentences. In some severe cases, they could even be facing the death penalty. A criminal defense lawyer may challenge the charges if there is any doubt about the events that took place leading to the charges. For example, the lawyer may find flaws in the prosecution's case during an independent investigation into the incident. If the accused person was charged with murder, the attorney may explore viable defenses against the accusation, including self-defense.

Source: The State, "Woman found after Richland County house fire had been beaten, strangled and shot", Teddy Kulmala, Oct. 11, 2017

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