A South Carolina man who shot and killed his cab driver and another man who were apparently chasing down his unpaid fare has been granted bail after invoking the “Stand Your Ground” defense. After killing the two men, James Edward Loftis allegedly burned their bodies and buried them in his backyard.
“He’s a human being,” his attorney, Stephen Harris, said at the bail hearing Monday. “He freaked out and thought he was going to prison, so he tried to hide the bodies. Nobody knows how you’re going to react when you kill two people.”
Taxi driver Guma Oz Dubar, 46, drove Loftis home on the morning of March 5 from Stilettos Gentlemen’s Club, a strip club in Charleston. He was accompanied by his friend, James Cody Newland, 32. From the Charleston Post and Courier:
In documents, the Goose Creek Police Department portrayed Loftis’ account of what happened next: Dubar and Newland forced their way into the home and demanded the cab fare. Loftis said he would get the money, but he emerged from the kitchen instead with a .45-caliber pistol and fired eight times.
His wife came home to the sight of bullet holes in the wall. Some blood was on the floor. She contacted the police.
Loftis told detectives that he had cleaned his home with bleach. He dug a hole in the backyard and put the bodies and his dirty clothes there. He burned the remains and covered them with dirt.
“They were essentially just slow-cooked inside the grave site,” Deputy Solicitor Bryan Alfaro said Monday. As evidence that Loftis acted in self defense, Harris pointed to a size 12 footprint found hear the front door’s handle arguing it indicates that Dubar and Newland forced their way in to Loftis’s home.
“If he wouldn’t have burned those bodies, he would be a free man,” Harris said. “[The police] see this horrible aftermath and say it’s malice. It’s not malice. It’s a person who’s scared.”
Loftis is expected to post $250,000 bail sometime this week.