Deputies charged John Michael Young with two counts of murder Friday after searching his home not far from Lake Hartwell, taking away a chainsaw and machetes, Anderson County Sheriff's spokesman Chad McBride said.
Authorities said in arrest warrants that Young killed 52-year-old Tony McGinnis in September and 37-year-old Andrea Mitchell in October by beating them in the head in woods near his home. Investigators didn't give a motive, but said the victims weren't killed at random.
"We believe he targeted these victims for a reason," McBride said. "I don't necessarily believe he's out there targeting people for a random reason."
Mitchell's body was found Wednesday in a plastic barrel that was partially submerged in the lake after an officer saw the barrel and examined it. Deputies returned to the lake Thursday and found McGinnis' dismembered body in a metal barrel about 10 feet under water.
The two victims were acquaintances, but they had several friends in common. McBride said.
A second man, Shaine David Fischer, was arrested and charged with two counts of accessory after the fact of murder. Investigators said he helped Young dump the bodies in the lake. Arrest warrants said he confessed to his role and led investigators to charge Young. It wasn't known if he had an attorney.
Deputies are looking for any leads to find Young, and McBride has a warning for anyone who knows where Young is but isn't telling authorities.
"Think twice before you assist Mr. Young so you won't get charged, too," McBride said.