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Sex offender arrested in Clemson student's killing


June 07, 2006

A registered sex offender wanted in the death of a Clemson University student who was strangled with her bikini top was captured late Tuesday in Tennessee.

Jerry "Buck" Inman, who was wanted on arrest warrants for murder, rape and kidnapping, was taken into custody without resistance during a traffic stop about a mile from his parents' home in Dandridge, Sheriff David Davenport said.

Inman's DNA matched samples taken from Tiffany Marie Souers' apartment, South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division Chief Robert Stewart said Tuesday night.



Inman moved to Tennessee last September to be near his mother, Vera McArthur, and other relatives after he was released following a lengthy prison stint in Florida, according to his stepfather, Kenneth McArthur.

Since moving to Tennessee, Inman has been staying either with his parents or with his sister, who lives in the area, and has been working intermittently as a construction worker, McArthur said.

Authorities in Tennessee launched the manhunt for Inman midafternoon Tuesday when South Carolina officials notified the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation of the warrants, said TBI spokeswoman Jennifer Johnson.

Inman is a registered sex offender in Florida with an extensive criminal history.

According to Florida records and corrections department spokesman Robby Cunningham, Inman apparently was incarcerated from 1989 until last September for sexual battery, kidnapping, aggravated assault, grand theft of a motor vehicle, burglary and robbery. Inman also had a felony record from North Carolina, but Stewart wouldn't elaborate. Ariail said he thinks this is the first time the suspect has been charged with killing someone.

The only records available from North Carolina late Tuesday indicated that Inman has a history of sexual offenses in that state, but additional details of both his crimes and prison sentences were unavailable.

Johnson said Inman wouldn't have been required to register as a sex offender in Tennessee unless he was convicted after mid-1997, when the law regulating the state registry was enacted.

Souers' body was discovered about 12 hours after authorities think the junior was killed in her off-campus apartment early on May 26.

Souers, a 20-year-old civil engineering junior from Ladue, Mo., was wearing only a bra when she was found on her bedroom floor a few miles from campus. The bikini top was around her neck.

Photos of the suspect at an ATM machine trying unsuccessfully to use Souers' bank card were released last week, but the man's face was covered mostly in bandanas. The surveillance photos also captured a sport utility vehicle, which authorities think may have belonged to the suspect.

Police set up a tip line last week and received more than 200 calls.

Souers' father was impressed with how quickly authorities were able to capture Inman after they matched his DNA.

"I think it's just absolutely spectacular," Jim Souers said.


Contact J.J. Stambaugh of The Knoxville News Sentinel in Tennessee at
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