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Cops: Traveling Serial Killer Struck 3 Times in 3 Weeks

James M. Wright allegedly met victims through carnival where he worked
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted May 14, 2019 11:39 AM CDT
James Michael Wright.   (Washington County Sheriff’s Office)

(Newser) – Virginia police say a traveling carnival worker has confessed to killing two women and a teenage girl he met on the job. James Michael Wright, 23, admitted to carrying out the fatal shootings over three weeks after the cellphone of a missing 25-year-old was discovered in his truck, according to the Washington County Sheriff's Office. Wright says all three shootings were accidental, but police don't believe him. Authorities say Wright claimed to have shot Tennessee's Athena Hopson when he tripped on a March 17 walk, reports WJHL. He told police her body fell out of his truck as he was driving over a bridge to a hospital, and he couldn't retrieve it from a river. Wright also claimed to have shot 17-year-old Joslyn Alsup of Georgia while aiming for an animal after the pair had sex in the woods on March 9, according to court documents.

Alsup's body and that of Tennessee's Elizabeth Vanmeter, 22, were found near Wright's Mendota home. Police say Wright also admitted shooting Vanmeter after a fight on Feb. 28. Sheriff Fred Newman said autopsies were being conducted as authorities continued to search for Hopson's body. Newman said it was appropriate to call Wright a serial killer, adding that authorities would look for other possible victims in areas that hosted the Georgia-based traveling carnival James H. Drew Exposition, per NBC News and the Knoxville News Sentinel. "We know that that carnival traveled extensively certainly throughout the east coast," Newman said. He described Alsup as the daughter of a carnival worker. Wright is charged with three counts of capital murder. (Read more serial killer stories.)

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