Jerry Lee Manigault will die in prison for deaths of Lowcountry women

Jerry Lee Manigault. (Beaufort County Detention Center)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - A Hollywood man charged with murder in the deaths of two Lowcountry women was given four life sentences Monday.

Jerry Lee Manigault entered a plea Monday and accepted four life-without-parole sentences for charges related to the deaths of 70-year-old Polly Ann Mitchell, of Bluffton, and 77-year-old Julia Mudgett, of Hollywood.

Police believe Manigault killed Mitchell on May 12, 2014, at her Buck Island Road home. Before killing her, Manigault sexually assaulted the elderly woman. About a week prior, police say Manigault was in Hollywood where he beat Mudgett to death.

"I was very glad to give the family of Polly Ann Mitchell at least a small measure of closure in this case," said Deputy Solicitor Sean Thornton of the 14th Circuit Solicitor's Office, who prosecuted the charges associated with Mitchell's death. "And I am glad not only for them but for all of the citizens of Beaufort County and the 14th and Ninth circuits that Jerry Manigault will die in prison."

The investigation and prosecution of the case involved several agencies. Manigualt was being sought by the U.S. Marshals Service for failing to register as a sex offender when he was listed as a person of interest in Mudgett's disappearance. When he was found in the Bluffton area, it was learned he was trying to sell a maroon Hyundai Elantra that belonged to his victim.

"Jerry Lee Manigualt's prosecution was complex. It involved two solicitors offices, five law-enforcement agencies, two forensic labs and evidence collected in three counties," 14th Circuit Solicitor Duffie Stone said. "This was very much a joint prosecution with our office and Solicitor Scarlett Wilson."

In the same area where Manigualt was found, Mitchell's body was discovered. She had been sexually assaulted and strangled with a television power cord. Investigators say when they picked up Manigualt, he had a backpack belonging to Mitchell and had clothes and money stained with her blood. H was also wearing one of her rings.

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