South Carolina ex-school principal charged in wife’s death

September 18, 2019 GMT

SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (AP) — Police in South Carolina charged a former high school principal with murder on Wednesday, a day after the man reported his wife missing.

James Yarborough, 64, also was charged with possession of a weapon during a violent crime and obstruction of justice, Summerville police Lt. Shaun Tumbleston said. Authorities said the woman’s body had been found Tuesday in a wooded area in unincorporated Dorchester County.

News outlets reported that Yarborough called Summerville police on Tuesday to say he hadn’t seen his 63-year-old wife Karen since she went out for a walk the night before. As Yarborough was describing his wife to officers, they noticed a red stain on his shirt, according to a police report. They also spotted a single bullet without a shell casing on the floor of the master bedroom, according to the report.


Yarborough told police he was on blood thinners and that the stain was probably his own blood, according to authorities. The report said Yarborough told police he didn’t have a gun and had no idea why the bullet would have been there, according to the report.

An officer wrote in the incident report that vehicles outside the house had “fresh damage” and there were also broken flower pots and a wheelbarrow nearby “as if someone had attempted to clean up the scene.” Yarborough told police he only knew of damage to the vehicles that his wife had told him about on Monday.

Coroner Paul Brouthers said Karen Yarborough’s death was an apparent homicide and that an autopsy is scheduled Thursday morning.

It’s unclear whether Yarborough had an attorney who could speak for him.

He spent six years as principal at Summerville High School before leaving in 1998, the Post and Courier reported.