Last week, this news outlet published its first article on the ‘Rose Petal Murder,’ a shockingly graphic homicide which took place shortly after 10:00 a.m. EST at 122 Canebrake Drive in Greer, South Carolina on the morning of October 13, 2021.
The victim of this homicide was 41-year-old Christina Parcell, a technician at Foothills Veterinary Hospital in Greenville, S.C.
Parcell’s body was discovered shortly after 11:00 a.m. EST in the front living room of a suburban home owned by her sister, Lutina Parcell. She was discovered by her fiancee, Bradly Post – who has since been arrested (but not for Parcell’s murder).
As noted, the details of this crime scene were shocking – “disturbingly ritualistic,” according to our previous report. For starters, the killer allegedly sprinkled rose petals around Parcell’s body after dragging (and posing) her in the front living room of this 2,100-square foot home.
“Rose petals were sprinkled around her body,” a source familiar with the killing told this news outlet. “She was dragged – there were drag marks. The scene was staged.”
Others have attributed the fallen rose petals to a bouquet broken apart during a scuffle between Parcell and her murderer. Either way, the crime has been christened by Upstate law enforcement and prosecutorial sources as the ‘Rose Petal Murder.’
Officially, Parcell’s cause of death was recorded by the Greenville county coroner’s office as a homicide due to “multiple sharp force injuries.” S.C. thirteenth circuit solicitor Walt Wilkins – whose office is prosecuting the case – said Parcell “was brutally stabbed to death in her neck and head area,” sustaining “approximately 31 different stab wounds by a sharp object.”
Parcell’s accused murderer is 31-year-old Zachary David Hughes – a California native and graduate of the prestigious Juilliard School in New York City. A classically trained concert pianist, Hughes studied and performed piano sonatas written by famed composer Ludwig van Beethoven.
He has no prior arrests or convictions and surrendered voluntarily to authorities on the charges he is facing.
During an April 6, 2022 court hearing, Wilkins indicated Hughes’ DNA had been found under Parcell’s fingers.
“The victim’s fingernails were processed for DNA, and the (result) conclusively shows that Zach Hughes’ DNA was under the fingernails of the victim,” Wilkins told S.C. circuit court judge Edward W. Miller.
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A Ring camera from a home across the street also captured Hughes “dressed in a black hoodie and a backpack entering the front door” of Parcell’s home just before she was killed, Wilkins told S.C. circuit court judge Edward W. Miller. Hughes was later seen on another Ring camera “leaving the subdivision on a bicycle” after Parcell’s murder, Wilkins said.
On November 3, 2021 – GCSO deputies arrested Hughes and charged him with murder and use of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime in connection with Parcell’s death. He has been held at the Greenville County detention center since his arrest.
Parcell was beloved by her coworkers at the animal hospital. In fact, they shut the facility down the day of her funeral – and launched a memorial fund in her honor.
“The dogs loved her and she did such an incredible job with them,” one hospital employee wrote.
The owner of the veterinary hospital also mourned Parcell as a loving mother to her daughter – who was under the age of ten when her mother was murdered.
“She loved her daughter, was extremely close to her sister … she’s just not another nameless faceless victim,” Parcell’s employer told WSPA TV-7 (CBS – Greenville/ Spartanburg).
In the seventeen months since this slaying took place, though, several shocking revelations have changed public perceptions of the case – and of Parcell.
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First, Parcell’s fiancee – Bradly Post – was arrested on October 19, 2021 in connection with a child pornography investigation related to evidence obtained at the murder scene. Post is currently facing five counts of sexual exploitation of a minor in the first degree, one count of sexual exploitation of a minor in the third degree, one count of third degree criminal sexual content with a minor and one count of buggery (more on that last charge in a moment).
All of these charges are pending – and are being prosecuted by the office of S.C. attorney general Alan Wilson.
Like Hughes, Post has remained incarcerated at the Greenville County detention center ever since his arrest.
In addition to the criminal charges, Post and Parcell (or rather her estate) were listed as defendants in two civil lawsuits – one brought on behalf of Parcell’s own daughter and the other brought on behalf of another minor female allegedly victimized by the couple. According to the first lawsuit (.pdf) – filed on behalf of a friend of Parcell’s daughter last February – “Parcell and Post took pictures/ videos of and with (the minor female) in states of undress and in sexually provocative positions.”
According to the second lawsuit (.pdf), Parcell’s own daughter was photographed and videoed “in various stages of undress and in sexually explicit and nude positions.” Some of these files (content warning) “graphically depict(ed) her genitals and breasts.”
Sources familiar with the evidence in this case say Parcell was not only aware these images and videos were being produced, but may have even appeared alongside her daughter in several of the pornographic productions.
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Not surprisingly, Parcell’s alleged participation in the production and dissemination of child pornography – including porn involving her own daughter – has changed some of the underlying calculus surrounding the murder prosecution of Hughes.
“As far as I’m concerned, (Hughes) did everyone a favor,” a source familiar with the case told me. “I just wish he could’ve gotten the fiancee, too.”
There is another emerging component to this saga that could further complicate the prosecutorial calculus … a component that’s even sicker and more twisted, if reports are to be believed.
As investigators scoured through evidence collected at the murder scene, a new category of victims came into focus … animals.
According to my sources, the buggery charge against Post stems from a trove of materials uncovered in the aftermath of Parcell’s murder depicting the couple – both individually and together – engaging in sexual intercourse with animals. Multiple dogs, in particular, were allegedly victimized by the couple.
“It’s some of the vilest material I’ve ever seen,” a veteran prosecutor familiar with the images and videos told me this week.
The prosecutor also strongly hinted there would be “more charges and more arrests” based on the pornographic materials uncovered at the Parcell murder scene and follow-up investigatory work undertaken by detectives of the Greenville County sheriff’s office.
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In addition to her work at the veterinary hospital, Parcell routinely brought dogs home to be “fostered,” according to Canebrake neighbors who spoke with this news outlet on condition of anonymity.
“None of them stayed that long, though,” one neighbor told us.
South Carolina is the only state in America which still classifies sexual offenses against animals under a catch-all anti-sodomy statute – the “abominable crime of buggery.” Buggery generally refers to anal intercourse between humans – or any sexual activity between a human being and an animal.
According to S.C. Code of Laws § 6-15-120, “whoever shall commit the abominable crime of buggery, whether with mankind or with beast, shall, on conviction, be guilty of felony and shall be imprisoned in the penitentiary for five years or shall pay a fine of not less than five hundred dollars, or both, at the discretion of the court.”
According to the Animal Legal and Historical Center at Michigan State University, the vast majority of states have specific anti-bestiality statutes on their books – although New Mexico, West Virginia and the District of Columbia have no anti-bestiality laws in place. There is no federal law addressing bestiality, either, although it is outlawed under the military code of justice (10 U.S.C.A. § 925).
South Carolina clearly needs to update its criminal statutes regarding sexual crimes involving animals – a reform effort for which this case seems eminently likely to serve as a catalyst.
Hughes’ murder case is expected to be tried sometime in early 2024 in Greenville County. As of this writing, there is no timetable for Post’s prosecution – which will also take place in Greenville County. Again, Wilkins’ office is handling the murder and weapons charges against Hughes, while Wilson’s office is handling the pornography and exploitation charges against Post – and would prosecute any other individuals charged in connection with this ongoing investigation.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children.
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