ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Raymond Moody, who was accused of kidnapping, raping, and killing Chili teen Brittanee Drexel in 2009, pleaded guilty Wednesday, and was sentenced to life in prison.
Raymond Moody shrugged into a South Carolina courtroom with an empty glance on his face and said “yes sir” when asked if he wanted to plead guilty to the judge.
Drexel was last seen on the evening of April 25, 2009, leaving the Blue Water Resort in Myrtle Beach. Her family and friends spent 13 years searching for her before Moody was arrested and charged.
The indictment against him carries murder, kidnapping, and criminal sexual conduct charges, all of which he pleaded guilty to according to prosecutors.
Drexel’s body was found in a wooded area in Georgetown County, South Carolina, in May of 2022. At the time, the court solicitor for Horry and Georgetown Counties said Moody may choose to plead guilty, considering the evidence against him.
“That could be one thing they’re looking at: ‘I want to get this over,'” 15th Circuit Solicitor Jimmy Richardson said back in May. “Or it could be that ‘I’m going to let it die down a little bit, and then I’ll ask for bond.'”
“The defendant was and is a perverted sick monster,” Chad Drexel, Brittanee’s adoptive father, said in his testimony to affect the length of sentencing Wednesday. “This should never happen to anyone ever again.”
“Thank God that we found justice, and can end this horror story,” Brittanee’s brother Camdyn Drexel said during his impact statement.
Dawn Pleckan, Brittanee’s mother, addressed Moody directly when she took the stand, calling him a “disgrace.”
“What gave you the right to put your hands on my daughter?” she asked, facing away from Moody. “I am so glad my daughter was feisty — she fought back […] We know now she scratched the hell out of your head face and neck. You will forever carry the scars of what my daughter did to you, and I hope you are haunted by what you did to her.”
Moody, a registered sex offender, was initially considered a person of interest in 2011. At first, he claimed he was out of town at the time. A traffic ticket issued near Myrtle Beach on April 26, 2009 was used to prove otherwise.
In May 2022, the Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office said Moody confessed to the crime and led investigators to Drexel’s body.
Following his May confession, the family of Timothy Taylor spoke out. Taylor was accused in 2016 of Drexel’s murder. During her impact statement, Pleckan acknowledged the struggles those falsely accused went through, empathizing with their pain, and including them in the long list of those affected by Moody’s crimes.
“For 13 years, others were blamed for your actions, and for that, I am so sorry for all they endured,” Pleckan said. “My heart is broken, my life forever changed. So many lives destroyed by your selfish actions.”
Following the plea, the Federal Bureau of Investigation released the following statement:
Today marks the ending of a long, dark chapter for Brittanee Drexel’s family and friends, the Myrtle Beach and Georgetown County communities, and all others who poured their heart and soul into finding the truth about what happened to Brittanee. The truth is she was kidnapped, sexually assaulted, and killed in a horrific and incomprehensible way.
The recovery of Brittanee’s remains in May, and now the guilty plea and sentencing is the culmination, in part, of the law enforcement efforts from the local, state, and federal level, as well as the countless other entities and individuals who played a role in bringing this case to this point.
The service of justice through this sentencing will never completely alleviate the grief of losing Brittanee, but it is our hope it can help the family continue their healing and focus on cherished memories she left behind.
Moody’s court timeline
Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.