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Anderson County man sentenced to 30 years in prison in deaths of 2 people found in barrels

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ANDERSON, South Carolina — An Anderson County man has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for the deaths of two people, but he is refusing to say how the victims were killed.

John Michael Young accepted a plea deal Friday in the deaths of the two people whose bodies were found in barrels in Lake Hartwell in November 2012. One of the victims was dismembered.

"We can't go back. I've accepted your plea. So what happened; how did these people die?" Judge Ned Miller of Greenville asked Young.

But the Anderson Independent-Mail reported (http://bit.ly/ZL6QgA) that Young refused to answer, saying he only disposed of the bodies. He said there were 10 to 15 people making, selling and using methamphetamine in the drug house where he was living.

"There were so many dangerous people in and out of my house. I don't know what happened," Young said.

Investigators went to Lake Hartwell two years ago expecting to find 53-year-old Tony McGinnis' body in a barrel, but found the remains of 37-year-old Andrea Mitchell instead in a partially submerged container. They found McGinnis' dismembered body in a barrel 10 feet underwater the next day.

The victims were beaten to death, authorities said. A motive was not given.

McGinnis' daughter called Young a monster.

"I think if you would have just killed my daddy instead of knocking him in the head, cutting his body up, and putting him in a barrel and sinking him to the bottom of the lake where he'd never be found, I could have dealt with it better," Tasha McGinnis said. "I hate you John Michael. I pray to God every day that you get tortured and die."

Young's lawyer says he had a terrible methamphetamine problem. Young apologized to the families before he was sentenced.

"I didn't think clearly," he said. "Drugs just took control of my life. It's not the person who I am today."


Information from: Anderson Independent-Mail, http://www.andersonsc.com

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