NATIONAL NEWS

South Carolina couple is charged with murder in the 2015 killings of four of their family members

Dec 19, 2023, 1:53 PM

PENDLETON, S.C. (AP) — A South Carolina couple has been charged with killing four older family members in a gory 2015 Halloween attack in the victims’ home.

Amy and Rosmore “Ross” Vilardi remained jailed Tuesday in Anderson County on four counts of murder each. They have a preliminary court hearing scheduled for Feb. 20.

The case hadn’t been added to the state’s online court records system as of Tuesday, and a spokesperson for the county sheriff’s office said the agency has not identified an attorney who might speak on their behalf. In interviews with news outlets since the killings, the couple has said they are innocent.

During a news conference Friday to announce the charges, Sheriff Chad McBride declined to say why they were brought so long after the killings, adding that such details would be reserved for court.

“God bless this family. They’ve been through so much,” McBride said. “They’ve waited for a long time.”

The killings shocked Pendleton, a rural town of about 3,500 people in western South Carolina about 110 miles (180 kilometers) northeast of Atlanta.

According to McBride, Amy Vilardi called the authorities on Nov. 2, 2015, to report the deaths of her 60-year-old mother, Cathy Scott, 85-year-old grandmother, Violet Taylor, 58-year-old stepfather, Mike Scott, and his 80-year-old mother, Barbara Scott. Amy and Ross Vilardi lived next door to the victims on the same property, FOX Carolina reported.

Authorities said the scene where the victims had been shot and stabbed was “gruesome” and among the worst some investigators had ever seen. Although the killings gained widespread attention, no one was arrested until last week.

The defendants and some of their other relatives filed claims and counterclaims over belongings and thousands of dollars in cash that was taken as evidence from the property. Those assets were eventually divided among them in a 2021 settlement.

At the news conference, McBride applauded his investigators and the victims’ other family members for never giving up.

“I wish that the families weren’t having to deal with this,” McBride said. “But I hope this is a good day for them, at least the first step in getting justice.”

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South Carolina couple is charged with murder in the 2015 killings of four of their family members