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A former carnival worker, James Michael Wright, 23, was recently arrested and charged with the homicides of three people, two women and a teenager.

Authorities claim that Wright's serial killing spree lasted 18 days, though Wright says the shootings were all "accidents."


After being arrested, Wright confessed to shooting all three of his victims, but told authorities the entire ordeal was an accident. Washington County Sheriff Fred Newman said that was "hard to believe" at a press conference.





Wright was connected to his victims through his work at the James H. Drew Exposition traveling amusement park.

The company has denied ever employing Wright, saying he came into contact with their workers through his employment at the horse company Pony Express, who would occasionally partner with the amusement park.

Pony Express also distanced themselves from Wright, saying:

"The owner of 'Pony Express' has stated to us that he parted ways with Mr. Wright last year. We have been told that at the time of the murders, Mr. Wright was working on a trash truck."

The three victims have been identified as "Athina Hopson, 25, of Johnson City, Tennessee; Elizabeth Marie Vanmeter, 22, of Carter County, Tennessee; and Joslyn Alsup, 17, of Cobb County, Georgia."

Hopson and Vanmeter both knew Wright through work at the carnival, while Alsup, the teenage victim, knew Wright through her father (another carnival worker).

Authorities say they are following up with the amusement company to ensure there aren't any other victims:

"We're working with the carnival to make a determination of the location that they set up the carnivals and attempt to see if there are missing people who may have been reported from those jurisdictions."

Wright has no active criminal record, and wasn't even a police concern until Hopson, the last of his victim's, went missing and Wright was reported as the last person to see her alive.

Just days prior, Wright had been in an car crash involving a bus and police were able to search his car, where they found Hopson's cell phone.


Newman pointed out:

"The accident that he had, again this is mere speculation but the accident that he had a mere two days after the last killing certainly put an end to that series of incidents at that point."

After being taken into custody and questioned by authorities, Wright confessed to all three shootings and the disposing of his victim's bodies.


Authorities are asking anyone with information on the suspect or victims to contact the Washington County Virginia Sheriff's Office at 276-676-6000.

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