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ASU Student Reported Hitchhiker Accused of Shooting Couple on Christmas Eve on I-85 To Authorities in August

By Jesse Wood

Jan. 14, 2015. A hitchhiker accused of shooting a couple along I-85 in South Carolina on Christmas Eve had previously stalked an Appalachian State University student online last summer, according to the WYFF4, a station based in Greenville, S.C.

Boone Police Sgt. Matt Stevens told the station that Appalachian State Police asked detectives with the Boone Police Department to investigate John Asher Farrell-Villarreal, 22, of Travelers Rest, S.C., after a female student reported her concerns of perceived online threats by Farrell-Villarreal after she ended their brief relationship.


Speaking to the station, the student, who requested anonymity, said that Farrell-Villarreal, the alleged killer in the Christmas Eve murders, previously posted her personal information online, including her address.

“He posted a warning with (the personal information) that said that he was not responsible for anything that happens to me as a result of that information being out there,” she told WYFF4.

The Boone Police Department looked into the incident but didn’t find any charges because, as Stevens said, “We couldn’t find any North Carolina statutes that would apply.”

“She had a legitimate concern, but there were no specific threats,” Stevens said.

Stevens did, however, notify Travelers Rest Police Department (TRPD) about Farrell-Villarreal and also noted that investigators with the Boone Police Department found “multiple anti-law enforcement online postings” by Farrell-Villarreal.

TRPD Detective Tim Kelley told WYFF that after Stevens contacted him, Kelley went to Farrell-Villarreal’s residence but nobody was home.

Farrell-Villarreal was charged with murder, attempted murder, auto theft and possession of a weapon. He is accused of shooting 44-year-old James Jerry Dobson II of Easley, S.C., and 43-year-old Mary Marie Fowler of Greenville, S.C., on Christmas Eve morning.

While Fowler died, Dobson remains in critical condition.

Investigators said that Farrell-Villarreal shot the couple in the back of their heads with a gun modified with a homemade silencer after they agreed to give him a ride.