Hitchhiker admits shooting couple Christmas Eve, planning bloody kidnapping of girl

Gruesome details in the case of a man who shot a couple who picked him up as he hitchhiked on a rainy Christmas Eve have been released after he pleaded guilty and was sentenced Wednesday.

John Asher Farrell-Villarreal, 25, pleaded guilty to the 2014 murder of Mary Fowler, the attempted murder of James Dobson, carjacking and possession of a weapon during a violent crime.

State prosecutors detailed Farrell-Villarreal’s crimes during a plea hearing. They said Farrell-Villarreal received a Facebook message on Dec. 23, 2014, from a 17-year-old girl living in Fitzgerald, Georgia, with whom he was having an online romantic relationship. She told Farrell-Villarreal that her step-father was abusing her. Farrell-Villarreal didn’t own a vehicle, so he asked her if he could manage to steal a car to come pick her up if she would go with him, and she said she would.

Farrell-Villarreal tried to hotwire a car on Dec. 24, 2014, but was unsuccessful. He was standing in the road in the area of Fletcher Street in Greenville wearing a rain suit when James Dobson and Mary Fowler stopped their car to speak with him.

Farrell-Villarreal asked them for a ride to I-85, and they agreed he would pay $5 for the ride. Once they got to the Interstate, Dobson and Fowler agreed to take the defendant to the Georgia state line for an additional $25.

During the ride, Farrell-Villarreal asked Dobson, who was driving, to pull over so he could urinate. As soon as Dobson pulled over and put the car in park, Farrell-Villarreal shot Fowler once in the back of the head. He then shot Dobson multiple times.

Farrell-Villarreal then dumped Fowler and Dobson on the side of I-85 and left them there to die.

He went to a truck stop where he cleaned out the car and cut the seatbelts out of the car because of the bloodstains before continuing to Georgia.

When Farrell-Villarreal got to the girl’s home, he got into an argument with her mother and police were called to the home. He was taken into custody and released a short time later.

Deputies got a 911 call at 6:17 a.m. on Dec. 24, 2014, about a man lying on the shoulder of I-85 in Anderson County. Deputies found Fowler and Dobson critically injured, but both alive. Fowler died hours later.

Dobson survived the attack, but two bullets had entered his head behind his right ear and came out of his left eye. He lost his left eye and most of the sight in his right eye. He is paralyzed on his left side and can no longer…

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