COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A man charged with killing two sisters in South Carolina 12 years ago but who disappeared out of the legal system after he was found incompetent to stand trial was arrested Thursday in Colorado after authorities reinstated his charges, a sheriff’s office and a family attorney said.
Williamsburg County deputies began looking for Joseph Jermaine Brand on Tuesday after he was charged for failure to appear for not returning to face the murder charges after treatment and release from a group home in 2016, family attorney Lori Murray said Thursday night. He is accused of killing Naomi Johnson, 65, and her 74-year-old sister Thelma Haddock in the home they shared in Kingstree, South Carolina.
Murray said investigators eventually were able to track Brand’s cellphone, first getting a ping Thursday at the airport in Charlotte, North Carolina, then the airport in Dallas and then in Pueblo, Colorado, near where his brother lives. There, police caught up to him and took him into custody, Murray said.
A statement from Williamsburg County Sheriff Stephen Garner backed up details of the arrest, saying South Carolina law enforcement aided police in Colorado and added Brand awaits extradition back to that county to face prosecution.
Brand previously confessed to the October 2010 killings, according to arrest warrants. But the records show his mental problems kept him from being able to assist his attorney, prompting a judge to order a psychiatric evaluation.
Murray said Brand’s Facebook page, his ability to fill out an application to vote and how he tried to escape this week’s arrest warrants, including a layover where he changed planes, show he is not incompetent.