richard lee hudson

Richard Lee Hudson - booking photo provided

A Columbia man is accused of fatally shooting a man and dumping the body last month at an abandoned rest area along Interstate-20.

According to Lexington County Sheriff's Department arrest warrants, Richard Lee Hudson, 65, is charged with murder and possession of a weapon during a violent crime.

“A team of detectives has worked on this case since the body of Walter Payne was found Sept. 23,” Lexington County Sheriff Jay Koon said. “Based on their review of the evidence and interviews with Hudson, he shot and killed Mr. Payne with a handgun late on Sept. 17 or early Sept. 18.

“We recovered ammunition from Hudson’s car that’s consistent with the projectile recovered during Mr. Payne’s autopsy,” Koon said.

The two men were in a long-term relationship, according to Koon. Investigators said Hudson told them he was the last person to see Payne alive.

“Mr. Payne’s vehicle was recovered from Hudson’s home,” Koon said. “It showed signs of recent cleaning and traces of Mr. Payne’s blood.”

A state trooper found Payne’s body at the former rest area near mile marker 47 on I-20 West, according to Koon.

Deputies arrested Hudson Friday morning. He was transported to the Lexington County Detention Center and awaits a bond hearing.

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