The Rutherford County Sheriff's Office has charged a man with murder after they said he confessed to the killing when Travelers Rest police found him holding a gun to his head in the Chick-fil-A drive-thru.
Travelers Rest police Chief Lance Crowe said officers responded to the Chick-fil-A on Benton Road Monday around 7:30 p.m. for a disturbance between a man and a woman in the drive-thru. When officers arrived they discovered a man holding a gun to his head. The chief said the man told police he felt guilty about a crime he committed in North Carolina.
Officers were able to talk the man out of the car and both he and the woman were taken into custody.
North Carolina authorities were notified of the situation and began investigating the man's claims.
Rutherford County Sheriff Chris Francis said the information they received from Travelers Rest police led them to a home on Chase High Road.
Deputies made entry and found 49-year-old Michael Dale Splawn dead inside. Francis said it appears Splawn had been shot. An autopsy will help determine the cause and time of death.
"I just want to know why," said Kim McCombs, Michael Splawn's sister. "Why are people so cruel? He didn't deserve this."
Francis said the house belonged to Jason Butler, 45, the man he said was arrested in Travelers Rest Monday night. He said the woman was Butler's wife, Shannon Butler, 43.
The Rutherford County Sheriff's Office said Tuesday that Jason Butler had been charged with murder in Splawn's death.
Travelers Rest police said Jason Butler was also charged with pointing and presenting a firearm. Shannon Butler was charged with unlawful carrying of a pistol.
"The guy that did this, he helped him," McCombs said. "That was his friend. You don't do this to your friends."
The Butlers are currently being held in the Greenville County Detention Center and appeared at bond hearings on Tuesday afternoon.
A judge set Jason Butler's bond at $5,000 on the weapons charge out of Greenville County. He will have to be extradited to North Carolina to face the murder charge.
Shannon Butler appeared in bond court, also on a weapons charge. She was visibly emotional during the hearing and said she grabbed the guns and was running for her life, from Jason Butler.
"He said 'time is almost up. I'm going to kill you and then kill myself'," Shannon Butler said.
She was given a personal recognizance bond.
Chief Crowe says, Rutherford County is not pursuing any charges for Shannon Butler at this time. He says the county did, however, obtain the Jeep and guns from the police department on Tuesday. Rutherford County has now taken over the case completely.
On Thursday, Crowe said the Travelers Rest Police Department amended Butler's Bond to a personal recognizance bond, which will allow Rutherford County to extradite Butler back to North Carolina. Crowe said Butler signed a waiver of extradition when Butler was served with a fugitive from justice warrant.
Butler was denied bond at a hearing on Thursday. He will go before a district court judge on Friday.
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