Man accused in South Carolina double murder escapes facility

Fri Jan 3, 2014 3:22pm EST

Jason Carter is pictured in this undated booking photo courtesy of Oconee County Sheriff's Office. REUTERS/Oconee County Sheriff's Office/Handout via Reuters

Jason Carter is pictured in this undated booking photo courtesy of Oconee County Sheriff's Office.

Credit: Reuters/Oconee County Sheriff's Office/Handout via Reuters

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(Reuters) - A man accused of killing his mother and stepfather, whose plastic-wrapped bodies police found inside a locked basement room in South Carolina in 2006, escaped on Thursday from a psychiatric hospital, authorities said.

Police were unsure how 39-year-old Jason Carter escaped from the Columbia hospital, where he was committed after being found not guilty by reason of insanity, Oconee County Sheriff's Office spokesman Jimmy Watt said.

He added that Carter may be traveling in a stolen white van.

Carter was working at a supply business on the hospital's campus some 115 miles northwest of Charleston in the southern U.S. state, CNN affiliate WISTV reported, citing local law enforcement.

Eight years ago, police officers "found the bodies of Kevin and Debra Ann Perkins inside a locked room in the basement with Carter inside with the victims," Watt said.

A defense attorney said during the trial that Carter had no recollection of committing the murders, WISTV reported, adding investigators had discovered the bodies wrapped in plastic bags in the basement.

Carter fled the 370-bed G. Werber Bryan Psychiatric Hospital that treats community patients as well as those involuntarily committed by the courts, the Herald newspaper reported.

(In second paragraph, sheriff's office corrects to say Carter found not guilty by reason of insanity, not incompetent to stand trial)

(Reporting by Eric M. Johnson)

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