A South Carolina man who was found not guilty by reason of insanity in the murder of his mother and stepfather — who were found wrapped in plastic in his basement — has been captured a day after he escaped from a mental hospital, officials said Friday.
Jason Mark Carter, 39, was picked up at a hotel in Fairview, Tenn., after police tracked the pings from his cellphone and spotted his vehicle in the parking lot.
His aunt, Karin Thorne, said she was relieved.
"If he's not on his meds, he could injure someone," she said.
It's unclear how he escaped from the Craft Farrow State Hospital in Columbia, S.C., on Thursday morning but police believe he stole a 1991 Chevy van and later somehow purchased a Chevy Lumina.
Carter was arrested in March 2006 after neighbors in Seneca reported his mother, Debra Ann Perkins, and stepfather Kevin Perkins, missing. Police found him hunched over the bodies of the victims, who had been shot in the head with a .22 caliber handgun.
Two and a half years later, a judge found Carter not guilty by reason of insanity and sent him to a mental health facility in Columbia, S.C.
During Carter's trial, he was described as schizophrenic and delusional. Investigators said he had followed the Grateful Dead around, lived with the homeless in San Francisco and got involved in drugs in the jungles of Costa Rica, according to the Anderson Independent-Mail.
He believed he had special powers and could dodge bullets and that he was being hunted by the mob and government agents with the help of his stepfather and his brother. Authorities found a collection of pornography, sex toys, books about the occult and "The Terrorist's Handbook" among his belongings, testimony showed.
His grandfather, B.S. Pope, tried to convince the court that Carter was crazy like a fox and should stand trial for murder.
"He has manipulated his parents from the day of his birth," he said at a hearing, according to the Independent-Mail.
"He's come in this court with a smart lawyer and a psychiatrist and done it to ya'll. He killed two great people for no other reason than robbery. He's stole, took drugs and spent his life in a worthless manner. I know he knows right from wrong; he's just good at it."