Pickens County Sheriff C. David Stone announced this morning that Susan Diane Hendricks has been charged with four counts or murder and four counts of possession of a weapon during a the commission of a violent crime.
Hendricks is accused of killing her sons, her ex-husband and her stepmother. She was arrested at the Quality Inn in Easley Monday.
Warrants allege that Hendricks killed her family members “with a handgun owned by the defendant, which she kept in her nightstand.”
The bodies of Marshall Wayne Hendricks, 20, Mark Wayne Hendricks, 52, Matthew Wayne Hendricks, 23, and Linda Ann Burns, 64, were found Friday October 14 in two residences on Pinedale Drive in Liberty.
Mark Wayne Hendricks was the father of Marshall and Matthew. Burns was the step-grandmother of Matthew and Mark, and stepmother of Susan Hendricks, according to Pickens County Coroner Kandy Kelley.
The Pickens County Sheriff’s Office responded to a report of a possible suicide around 6:30 a.m. Friday morning. Medic 3 and Liberty Fire and Rescue were on the scene checking on the victims when deputies arrived.
Upon arrival at 236 Pinedale Road, officers were met by the 911 caller, Evelyn Burns, who told police that her entire family was dead. Burns is Hendricks’ sister.
Officers observed “a significant trail of blood” after entering the home, according to a Pickens County Sheriff’s Office incident report.
Deputies then observed the body of Matthew Hendricks in a right, rear bedroom of the home. He had an apparent gunshot wound to the head.
A handgun was found on a bedside table near Matthew Hendricks, the report said.
Linda Burns was found in the right, front bedroom of the home. EMS told police she had been shot in the torso.
According to the report, the large amount of blood that trailed through the living room originated in the bedroom where Burns was found.
Shell casings were found in a closet of that same room, the report said.
Evelyn Burns then told officers she had family in a nearby home, 304 Pinedale Road.
She said all the commotion should have awakened them and that she was worried about their well-being.
The bodies of Marshall and Mark Hendricks were then discovered in the 304 Pinedale Road residence. Father and son were both dead of gunshot wounds.
“From the beginning, suspicion had pointed in one direction, but there were other areas of investigation that had to be pursued,” Stone said.
Forensic tests conducted by the State Law Enforcement Division were needed, and such tests took time, he said.
“Leaping to conclusions … can easily result in the wrong person being charged with a crime,” Stone said. “We want to ensure that this never happens in Pickens County.”
Stone said it appears that Hendricks’ motive was life insurance policies that had been placed on her family members.
The investigation revealed that the murder weapon was owned by Hendricks and also the existence of the life insurance polices naming Hendricks as beneficiary
Solicitor Walt Wilkins said statements from Hendricks after the discovery of the bodies were “inconsistent with scientific and forensic evidence.”
“This led us to the conclusion that Susan Hendricks did in fact murder her two sons, her ex-husband and her stepfather,” Wilkins said.
Hendricks stood to receive “a significant amount of money” from the life insurance policies, Wilkins said.
“Greed can be a powerful motive,” Wilkins said. “We see greed involved in the majority of cases that we prosecute through the Thirteenth Circuit Solicitor’s Office. However, I don’t think we’ve seen greed rise to the level of a quadruple homicide in quite some time.”
Wilkins said the case “certainly qualifies as a Death Penalty case.”
“My lawyers as well as the Sheriff’s Office and SLED will continue to review the evidence,” he said. “We’ll meet and discuss that possibility and make an ultimate decision at the appropriate time.”
Hendricks initially told officers that Matthew Hendricks had killed himself, Assistant Sheriff Tim Morgan said.
Kelley said that all four family members were victims of homicide.
Morgan said that earlier case involving Hendricks has never been closed, referring to a 2006 homicide at the 236 Pinedale Drive residence
In 2006, The 236 Pinedale Road residence was the site of a 2006 homicide.
Hendricks told investigators she shot Doyle O’Brine “Brian” Teague, 39, of 133 Pinedale Drive, on April 13, 2006 after he repeated entered the residence uninvited and threatened her, according to Sheriff’s Office incident report and a report from Kelley.
No charges were filed against Hendricks at the time.
Morgan said evidence from the 2006 shooting “never rose to the level of probable cause.”
“It’s never been closed, and certainly if anything new comes up, we can take a look at it,” he said.
Stone thanked the many investigators from different agencies “who worked tirelessly to see justice done for the victims.”
Morgan agreed, thanking investigators for “working round the clock” on the case.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families and friends,” Stone said. “It is our hope that you can begin the long healing process.”