An Evans man convicted in the 1991 murders of his wife and son will be executed Feb. 20 by lethal injection, according to the South Carolina Department of Corrections.
Luke A. Williams III was sentenced to death after a nine-day trial in 1993 in Edgefield County, S.C., where the partially burned bodies of his wife, Linda, and their 12-year-old son, Shaun, were found in a remote section of Sumter National Forest.
Shaun, an adopted orphan from El Salvador who was in seventh grade at Lakeside Middle School, had been strangled. Mrs. Williams, a paraprofessional at Bel Air Elementary School, was beaten to death.
Their bodies had been doused with gasoline and set afire after their van was driven into a tree in what police described as a botched attempt to stage an accident.
Williams denied involvement in the slayings, telling police his wife and son vanished after leaving town one morning for a shopping trip.
He was arrested in 1992 after attempting to claim $525,000 from multiple insurance policies he initiated for his family a month before the murders, making himself the beneficiary.
Williams was charged in South Carolina, despite assertions that the killings might have occurred in the family's home in the Bridlewood subdivision in Evans.
That discrepancy formed the partial basis of an appeal, but in 1996 the South Carolina Supreme Court affirmed the death sentence and rejected defense arguments that a South Carolina jury inappropriately convicted him of crimes committed in Georgia.
The execution is scheduled to occur at 6 p.m. Feb. 20 at the Department of Corrections' capital punishment facility located at Broad River Correctional Institution in Columbia.
The state Supreme Court on Jan. 23 issued an order directing the Corrections Department to carry out the sentence.
Williams is housed on death row at Lieber Correctional Institution in Ridgeville, S.C., according to a Department of Corrections press release.
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