Man, 35, is arrested in Aiken slaying

James Conway Gray has been charged with murder in the death of Helen Magee, who was strangled Saturday.

A 31-year-old woman is dead after a fight with a man in the front yard of her home in a trailer park off Wagener Road in Aiken.


Aiken County Coroner Tim Carlton said an autopsy revealed that Helen Magee was strangled to death following an argument that took place after midnight Saturday outside Magee's trailer home on Barton Brothers Lane.

Aiken County Sheriff's Capt. Troy Elwell said Magee's two children, both of whom are under 10, witnessed the fight, and the older child called 911.

While en route to the scene deputies found and arrested James Conway Gray, 35, of the 1500 block of Hamilton Drive in Aiken, who fit the description provided by witnesses.

Gray was charged with murder and is being held at the Aiken County Detention Center.

Elwell said investigators did not know what the argument was about.

Magee's older brother, Jeremy Markel, said Magee had known Gray for about 16 years, but the only thing Markel would say about Gray or his relationship with Magee is that the two were "friends."

"It surprised the whole family," Markel said of his sister's death.

Several neighbors said Saturday afternoon that they didn't know Magee and didn't hear anything, since they were sleeping when the incident occurred.

Markel said Magee had just recently moved into their mother's old home near the end of the dirt road in west Aiken.

"She was raising two kids and doing the best she could," Markel said. "She was a loving mother, a loving sister."