Travelling funfair worker, 23, deemed serial killer after 'confessing to shooting dead two women and teen girl'

A TRAVELLING fun fair worker has been deemed a serial killer after confessing to killing two women and a teen girl he met on the job, according to US police.

James Michael Wright, 23, could face the death penalty after he admitted shooting dead three victims during an 18-day killing spree, cops revealed on Monday.

The killings – which Wright claimed were accidental – all took place between February 28 and March 17 near his home in Mendota, Virginia, Washington County Sheriff Fred Newman said.

Of Wright's claim that the killings were accidents, Sheriff Newman added: “We find that hard to believe based on the information we have."

The alleged killer admitted responsibility for the deaths, police claim – saying he met his victims through his work as a subcontractor for a carnival.

He worked for James H Drew Exposition, a Georgia-based amusement company that operates along the East Coast.


One of Wright’s victims, Joslyn M. Alsup, 17, of Cobb County, Georgia, was the daughter of one of his co-workers at the carnival, cops said.

Wright claimed he shot her accidentally thinking she was an animal after the pair had sex in woods.

The other victims were identified as Elizabeth Marie Vanmeter, 22, of Carter County, Tennessee, and Athina Hopson, 25, of Johnson City, Tennessee.

Both women were reported missing to authorities in March.

Wright told authorities he shot Hopson on March 17 and was moving her body when it fell out of his truck and rolled down an embankment and into a river, police said.

The remains of two bodies believed to be Vanmeter and Alsup were later recovered during a search of properties surrounding Wright’s home.

One body was found in a shallow grave – while the other was discovered near some logs.


Investigators plan on contacting other jurisdictions along the East Coast where Wright worked as a carnival employee to see if they have any missing person cases that may have connections to him.

Sheriff Newman said: “The investigation is ongoing regarding the suspect’s activities while travelling with the carnival because, again, we know that carnival travelled extensively, certainly throughout the East Coast.

“Basically, this individual killed three women within about an 18-day period.”

Asked if Wright is a serial killer, Newman said: “I think you can say that, yes.”

Wright, who had no known criminal history, remains held without bond on three counts of capital murder.

If convicted, he could face the death penalty, authorities said.

A .22-calibre rifle that investigators believe was used in all three killings has been recovered.

Police refused to comment on potential motive, with Sheriff Newman saying: “He wasn’t certainly on their radar as being in any type of criminal activity."

The Georgia-based carnival company where Wright worked is yet to comment.

Its owner previously told WJHL that he had no record of Wright’s employment.

  • Parts of this article originally appeared on the New York Post

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