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Two in Sanford charged after bodies found in burning car

Posted August 23, 2011
Updated August 24, 2011

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— Two men have been charged in the deaths of a man and woman whose bodies were found inside a burning car in Sanford early Sunday morning, police said Tuesday.

Donald McLaughlin, 28, of 718 Magnolia St., faces two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of first-degree kidnapping and robbery with a dangerous weapon charges in the deaths of Christopher Michael Plush, 30, and Anna Stack Truelove, 21. Damian Arnell McSwain, 25, of 2107 Lee Ave., was charged with accessory after the fact.

Both men were being held at the Lee County jail Tuesday – McLaughlin without bond and McSwain under a $250,000 bond.

Firefighters putting out a car fire behind Warren Williams School found the bodies of Plush and Truelove inside. They had both been shot, police said. Investigators have not offered a motive and have not commented on the relationships between the victims and the suspects.

McLaughlin was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in 2005, after originally being charged with first-degree murder, court records state. He was sentenced to 36 months in prison, but served only six months. This week, a grand jury in Lee County began considering charges of assault with a deadly weapon and robbery with a dangerous weapon charges against him, police said.

McSwain was placed on probation on Aug. 4 after being convicted of possession of a firearm by a felon, according to state Department of Correction records. He also has a felony drug conviction from 2005.

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  • zigbaby Aug 24, 2011

    @dwntwnboy - I posted something similar to this, but my wording may have been too harsh for the "PC" moderator, so I will repost yours! I heartily agree!!! Maybe THIS time he'll get sent away for a long enough time to not be a threat to others in the future....why do I think that won't happen with the way the courts are run today? Too many non-violent folks locked up because of silly things like drug possesion while the truely dangerous and violent ones get let out because of overcrowding....got to keep those "manditory minimum" folks locked up. Can't let a pothead out on the streets, but let the guy out for manslaughter after 6 months- seems legit. JUSTICE SYSTEM FAIL!!!!

  • queenbeeitch Aug 24, 2011

    3rd arrest has been made in relation to this, William Horton. impressive rap sheet. including 2nd degree murder & drug trafficking.

  • dakjlmk2 Aug 24, 2011

    You take a life in this fashion, you should get the death penalty.

  • trishholden Aug 24, 2011

    This sickens me! Ilived in Lee County for 17 years and wow has it changed. The justice system there is a crock! Its all political and money is the ruler in that town! This man should have NEVER EVER been released. First of all he bragged about the fist murder and getting free then kept a loaded gun with him around town becasue people hated him and now this! God I pray you put your arms around this community and pray that the evil man gets what he deserves!

  • YippiYiyoKiYay Aug 24, 2011

    The criminal justice system really needs to be revamped. It needs to be punishment, not home away from home.

  • braddavis Aug 24, 2011

    6 months in prison for involuntary manslaughter while originally being charged with first-degree murder. I say it again and again and again on here. Eventually we are going to get tired of our liberal court system ways, take the law into our own hands, and have justice back the way it should be. This guy should not be breathing.

  • dwntwnboy Aug 24, 2011

    Maybe THIS time he'll get sent away for a long enough time to not be a threat to others in the future....why do I think that won't happen with the way the courts are run today? Too many non-violent folks locked up because of silly things like drug possesion while the truely dangerous and violent ones get let out because of overcrowding....got to keep those "manditory minimum" folks locked up. Can't let a pothead out on the streets, but let the guy out for manslaughter after 6 months- seems legit. JUSTICE SYSTEM FAIL!!!!

  • guest_123 Aug 24, 2011

    1 main factor will get him life or death.......... And if you can look at it the big picture you would see. He killed a guy back in 05 I think and only got 3 yrs. And, had a bond but, now he has no bond.... For 1 reason. Things still haven't changed just time.

  • queenbeeitch Aug 24, 2011

    koolaid...if you truly believe this, by all means, go petition your government officials. i’m sure it would improve things here if the kids could just go to the grocery store or gas station to pick up their oxycotin, cocaine, xanax & meth.

  • derosbys Aug 24, 2011

    Is the Lee County Grand Jury on crack? This guy should have never been released. Maybe this time they will do the right thing. Maybe it would had more of an effect if it were one of their close family members? I'm sorry but in 2005, after originally being charged with first-degree murder, McLaughlin was convicted of involuntary manslaughter. (Plea Bargin?) Maybe if there are a big enough pile of bodys someone will see a pattern? Dah.......

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