Former student charged in death of teacher at motel -, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Former student charged in death of teacher at motel

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Patton (Source: Patton (Source:
Eskew's mug shot right is from a Dec. 2013 assault and battery arrest (Source: Eskew's mug shot right is from a Dec. 2013 assault and battery arrest (Source:

GREENVILLE, SC (WYFF) A former student of a middle school teacher found dead in a motel room after a fire has been charged with murder in her death, according to the Greenville County Sheriff's Office.

Charges against Darrin Terrell Eskew, 21, of Greenville, were announced late Thursday afternoon.

Berea Middle School teacher Laurie Patton, 38, was found dead after a fire at the Quality Inn and Suites on South Pleasantburg Drive near Mauldin Road early Monday.

A release said Eskew and Patton had gotten into a physical altercation and he strangled her and set her and the motel room on fire.

Eskew stole Patton's vehicle and fled the scene, deputies said.

Banks County, Ga., deputies said that Eskew was pulled over on Interstate 85.

Deputies said Eskew was going 30 mph when the posted speed limit is 70 mph.

Eskew was pulled over in Georgia the night after Patton was found dead after he was seen driving erratically.

He then fought with a deputy and was shocked with a Taser and taken into custody. Georgia deputies then learned he was in Patton's vehicle and was wanted for questioning.

Eskew is currently being held in Banks County, Georgia.

Initially it was thought there was an explosion at the motel, but investigators later said what guests heard was the sound of shattering glass as someone tried to get into the room to reach the victim.

Patton was a special education resource teacher. She had taught at Berea Middle since 2005.

Patton earned her bachelor's degree at Wofford and her elementary education certificate from Furman. She earned her master's degree in Pennsylvania.

Eskew is charged with murder, third-degree arson and grand larceny.

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