CLEMMONS, N.C. — A North Carolina Satanist who changed his name over ten years ago to reflect that of a demon has been arrested after the bodies of two men who went missing in 2009 were discovered buried in his back yard.
John Alexander Lawson, 35, who changed his name to Pazazu Illah Algarad in 2002 after the Assyrian demon featured in the film “The Exorcist,” was taken into custody last week along with his wife, Amber Nicole Burch, 24, and are being held without bond.
Police state that they discovered the remains of Joshua Frederick Wetzler, 37, and Tommy Dean Welch, 36, buried in shallow graves at Lawson’s home, who lived with his mother Cynthia.
Both men were reported missing in 2009 and on separate occasions. Wetzler’s car was found abandoned in Winston-Salem and Welch was last seen walking home from visiting his brother. It is not known how Lawson knew the two men, or if he knew them at all prior to their disappearance. Their skeletal remains were taken to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center for further evaluation.
Bianca Heath, a friend of Lawson’s, told the Huffington Post that he had told her that he had committed murders, but she didn’t believe him.
“I’m sure no one else believed him either,” she said. “He laughed about the skeletal remains when telling the story on why he did what he did.”
She said, however, that Lawson told her that he had picked up two prostitutes and killed them both. He said that he burned their remains after eating their flesh, and buried whatever was left of them.
“I honestly thought he was lying. Now I’m not sure what to believe,” Heath said.
Reports state that animal bones were also discovered in Lawson’s yard, and law enforcement officials outline that he had performed Satanic rituals, including the offering of animal sacrifices, on the property.
“No gang members allowed: anyone that dresses the same, has the same badge and call themselves the authority of the land they did not create,” read a sign affixed to the door of his home, with a skull and crossbones, and the phrase “Evil will triumph.”
While it is not known as to what tipped off police to search Lawson’s yard for human remains, it is not the first time that they have done so. Cadaver dogs searched the property in 2012, but came up with nothing.
Lawson had been convicted that same year as being an accessory after the fact to the shooting death of Joseph Chandler and was out on probation last week when he was again arrested. The Satanist was also accused of attempting to choke his mother in 2010, and his wife faced charges for assaulting the woman a year later.
Both are due back in court on Oct. 23. Krystal Matlock, 28, has also been charged as being an accessory to Lawson for helping to bury one of the men.