Man wanted in Alabama double murder captured in St. Johns County, authorities say

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – A man wanted in a double homicide last week in Alabama was captured Monday afternoon in St. Johns County, authorities said.

John Peyton Scott III, 41, was arrested on warrants charging him with capital murder, the Helena, Alabama, Police Department said.

The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office said it received information Monday that the suspect was believed to be traveling in the area and deputies located his vehicle and performed a PIT maneuver in the area of Interstate 95 and International Golf Parkway.

John Peyton Scott III was taken into custody and booked into the St. Johns County Jail, the Sheriff’s Office said. He appeared before a judge Tuesday morning via video feed and said he wanted to speak to a lawyer before deciding whether he would waive extradition to Alabama.

He is being held without bond.

Helena police announced Sunday night that the warrants had been issued for Scott in the Jan. 19 deaths of 40-year-old Sharon Tarwater Whited and 75-year-old Chester E. Tarwater Jr.

At the time, Helena police said they had “reason to believe that Scott could be armed and should be considered dangerous.”

Police have not said how Whited and Tarwater were killed, but they initially said Scott was wanted only for questioning.

According to AL.com, Whited was Scott’s girlfriend, and Tarwater Jr. was the woman’s father. The site said they were found dead by Tarwater’s 12-year-old grandson inside their home in Helena, which is considered to be a suburb of Birmingham and located nearly 500 miles away from St. Augustine.

Linda Elliot, a family friend, said the two were inseparable.

“There wasn’t anything that her dad wouldn’t do for her,” Elliot said.

Authorities confirmed Scott was in a relationship with Whited and lived with her in the house with other members of her family.

Investigators didn’t say what evidence led them to obtain warrants against Scott. The murder counts were classified as capital offenses because more than one person was killed.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


About the Author:

Renee Beninate is a Florida native and award-winning reporter who joined the News4Jax team in June 2021.