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Aiken County Man Found Dead, Weeks After Being Arrested for Helping to Bury Remains


An Aiken County suspect accused of helping move the burned remains of a murder victim was found dead Sunday morning at a Windsor home, authorities said.

Cody Wooten, 37, was pronounced dead after the discovery inside the home on Stuckey Loop in Windsor.

Wooten was among four suspects accused of helping move the burned remains of John Belote, who had been fatally shot and burned. Thomas Guinn and Michael Williams Jr. were charged with murder and weapon possession.

Wooten’s father said Monday that he was devastated to lose his only son, who he said was a heroin user who made the mistake of hanging around the wrong crowd. The father said his son was on drugs when he was convinced to help move Belote’s body in July. The charges are likely what killed him.

“He was scared he was going to prison,” said Wooten’s father, Robin Maroney of Windsor. “But he wasn’t involved in (the murder). The only thing he said he did was hold a flashlight for them. He didn’t touch him or nothing.”

The cause of Wooten’s death is pending autopsy, which was scheduled on Monday, Coroner Darryl Ables said.

Wooten had been arrested in the Belote case, charged with accessory after the fact for murder as well as desecration or removal of human remains. His father bonded him out. Maroney was alerted to his son’s death on Sunday and had to go to the morgue to identify the body, which he said was blue.

“It looked like he was poisoned,” Maroney said.

The Aiken County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the death along with the coroner’s office.

Background. Authorities say Belote’s remains were moved from a field on Spring Branch Road to a shallow grave at 916 Windsor Road, where the discovery was made on July 14.

Suzanne Boozer, Donald Britton and Guinn were also arrested for accessory after the fact to murder and desecration of human remains. Britton is the father of the victim’s ex-girlfriend who had Belote arrested many times for abuse and violation of a restraining order.

Belote, 40, was reported missing in June by his daughter, who said her father had argued with Britton and planned to confront him. She never heard from him again.

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Greg Rickabaugh
Greg Rickabaugh
Greg Rickabaugh is an award-winning crime reporter in the Augusta-Aiken area with experience writing for The Augusta Chronicle, The Augusta Press and serving as publisher of The Jail Report. Rickabaugh is a 1994 graduate of the University of South Carolina and has appeared on several crime documentaries on the Investigation Discovery channel.
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