Mother of one of Socastee murder victims talks about her son

Tracy Baker, mother of Matthew Autry, says her son was one of the victims of the Socastee double-murder and arson. Four people face murder charges in connection to the case.
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Tracy Baker, mother of Matthew Autry, says her son was one of the victims of the Socastee double-murder and arson. Four people face murder charges in connection to the case.
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Crime

This is what we know about victims, suspects in Socastee double-murder case

By Alex Lang

alang@thesunnews.com

July 31, 2018 05:12 PM

Matthew Autry promised to return to Rock Hill for his daughter Jordan’s seventh birthday this Saturday.

“No matter what, no matter how, he was going to be here for her birthday,” his mother, Tracy Baker, told The Sun News.

Autry’s family identified the 29-year-old as one of two victims in last week’s double homicide in Socastee. Arrest warrants describe a brutal death with Autry and another man both shot and stabbed before the car was set on fire.

Jimmy Richardson, 15th Judicial Circuit Solicitor, described the murder as a drug-related killing.

Autry was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, his family says. His mother said he was not into drugs.

Baker said some of Autry’s friends in Myrtle Beach said he got a ride from the other victim before he was killed. Autry sent a text to a friend just before the killing, which said he would be there soon as he just found a ride, she said.

The Horry County Coroner’s office confirmed Shawn Anderson, 35, was one of the people killed in the murder. The office has not confirmed the other victim’s name. Anderson’s parents did not respond to interview requests.

Submitted by Tracy Baker


Baker didn’t learn about the Friday killings until Sunday when a friend asked if she saw the news. They have been in contact with Horry County police and a local coroner, she said.

“It’s been hell,” Baker said. “A lot of people get closure when they see their child. I’ll never get to see my child again.”

Autry’s condition means the family won’t have a proper burial, and Baker said it could take six months for them to get her son’s remains.

Autry lived in the Myrtle Beach area, but wasn’t working at the time of his death, she said. He grew up in the Kershaw area playing his guitar “like no other” since he was 10 years old.

“He was kind-hearted, he loved his family,” she said.

Baker said when they told Jordan her father was in heaven, she cried for 20 minutes. But, now the family believes Jordan is in denial and that it’s a prank and her dad will be there Saturday.

Not on DEU radar

Police charged four men in connection to the killing. Michael W. Faile, 37, faces two counts of murder. David L. Cook, 44, faces two counts of murder, one count of arson and one count of possession of heroin. William D. Tatum, 37, was charged with two counts of murder, one count of arson, one count trafficking heroin and one count possession of scheduled drug. Zachary Stell, 31, was charged with two counts of murder and one count of arson.

According to arrest warrants, the four men conspired to kill the two victims by shooting and stabbing them. Their car was then set on fire using gasoline. Police found the vehicle around 7 a.m. Friday down a dirt road off Butler Road near Enterprise Road in the Socastee area. The car was near the Socastee Recreation Park.

Faile’s arrest warrant says Tatum told investigators that Faile hired Cook and Stell to find one pound of stolen heroin or fentanyl.

The four suspects were not on the Drug Enforcement Unit’s radar before the killing, Richardson said. A pound of heroin has a street value of $18,000, but that figure could be higher based on purity, Richardson said.

Richardson, who oversees the DEU, explained it was not unusual in this case given the quantity of drugs in Horry County.

Jimmy Richardson, 15th Judicial Circuit Solicitor, discusses the death of two men found in a burning car in Socastee and the arrest of four suspects.

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The solicitor’s office learned of the murders on Friday and worked with police through their investigation, Richardson said. Investigators received tips that tied the suspects to the crime, he said.

Richardson said the case looks like state charges and not something that would fall under federal prosecution. It’s still too early in the process to consider the death penalty, Richardson said, but it appears unlikely as it’s only used for the “worst of the worst” and in cases where there is “murder plus,” such as murder of a police officer or a child.

All four of the suspects have criminal records in Horry County consisting mostly of minor, non-violent crimes.

Zachary Stell

Zachary Stell

Stell has three pending charges in Horry County, including two possession charges and unlawful carrying of a pistol. According to a Myrtle Beach arrest warrant, an officer found Stell asleep in a vehicle on May 22 at 307 7th Ave. North, the Oasis Motel. When officers searched the vehicle, they saw a tan substance, which tested posted for .2 grams of heroin. A digital scale was near the center console.

Stell is a U.S. Marines veteran who served from November 2005 to October 2010, according to the military. He told a court officer he receives disability payments from the Marines as his income.

According to last week’s arrest warrants, Stell and Cook shot the victims, then stabbed them. Stell set fire to the vehicle, warrants state.

William Tatum

Tatum pleaded guilty to unlawful carrying of a pistol and possession of marijuana in 1999. In 2005, he had two counts of receiving stolen property dropped.

William D. Tatum

Some charges list a Jones Street residence for Tatum. Police officers were at the small, run-down home in Socastee for hours on Friday. According to arrest warrants, at the residence police found Cook with heroin and Tatum with heroin and Oxycodone pills.

On Monday, nobody answered the door at the residence, which had several signs that read “no trespassing” and “surveillance in use.” A local said there were recent police “raids” at the home before the murder, but nobody was arrested.

Tatum’s Facebook page lists him as the owner of L.A. Tattoo shop in Conway. The store was closed on Monday and appeared nobody had been by in weeks.

In the double murder, Tatum served as lookout and helped clean up, according to police reports.

Michael Faile

Faile has an extensive criminal history, including pleading guilty to malicious destruction of property and forgery in 2011. He also was charged with kidnapping in 2012, but it was later dropped. According to that arrest warrant, on Aug. 21, 2012, Horry County police went

Michael W. Faile

to East Pine Loop for a domestic incident. Officers knocked on the door for 10 minutes, at which point Faile answered and said they had the wrong house. They forced their way inside and found the victim, who said Faile held her down around the neck and prevented her escape.

On July 29 — two days after they found the burned car — police spoke to Faile on Socastee Boulevard and he had 87 grams of heroin on him, police said.

Some of his recent arrest reports list him as homeless.

Faile’s arrest warrant says Tatum told investigators that Faile hired Cook and Stell to find one pound of stolen heroin or fentanyl.

David Cook

Cook was convicted in both Horrry County and Baltimore County, Maryland. In Horry County, he has three separate charges for domestic violence, all of which were dropped. In one 2011 case, police went to 1087 Pine Drive in Myrtle Beach where the victim said Cook choked her. Officers found Cook hiding in the backyard of the home. In 2011, Cook pleaded guilty to possession of LSD.

David L. Cook

In 2001, Cook was arrested in Baltimore County, Maryland after he robbed a pizza shop. He told police he entered the store, brandished a pellet gun and robbed the store and some customers, according to a police report. He got into a getaway car and fled the scene. The getaway driver told police that he and Cook had a heroin addiction and needed money to support their habit.

One address listed for Cook in Horry County court records is along Enterprise Road. That home is less than a mile from Butler Road, where police found the burned car on Friday.

Cook told investigators that he was paid to burn the vehicle with the two victims inside.