A group of children playing in the woods in Lancaster, South Carolina, stumbled upon the decomposing corpse of 33-year-old Rickey James covered with brush and leaves. The kids ran home and told their parents who notified the authorities.

The Mu*rder of Rickey James

James had been stabbed 39 times with a butcher knife. He disappeared about one month earlier after hanging out with his friend, David Adam Pate, a 24-year-old with ties to a local gang and a long c*riminal rap sheet who proudly wore “974” (code for Insane Gangster Disciples gang) and “Satan” tattoos on his forehead.

Pate was in county jail when the kids discovered the body, arrested two weeks earlier on disorderly conduct charges. Police immediately suspected Pate of James’ mu*rder, although without evidence, did not want to spoil their case by speaking to him prematurely. Detectives waited to question him until James’ autopsy results came back. Considering Pate was in custody, officers knew exactly where to find him.

David Pate Admits to Mu*rder

With the autopsy results in hand, DNA identified Pate as their man. During his interrogation, Pate eagerly confessed to ki*lling Rickey James, even bragging how he had used a knife similar to the one Michael Myers used in the Halloween movies. He was proud of his work and didn’t shy away from admitting as much.

Pate told police he had lured James into the woods under the pretense of drinking wine. A few drinks later, Pate viciously attacked James with the knife, stabbing him 39 times. He attempted to cut off James’s head but was unsuccessful.

When asked why he ki*lled James, Pate said, “I wanted to cut his dad gum head off.” He went on to blame James for his own mu*rder, telling police:

‘It was his fault. Why would anyone go drinking and go into the woods with someone who looks like me? ‘

Searching Pate’s home, investigators located 20 homemade and store-bought knives along with about 20 scary face masks.

Pate told officers how he covered James’s remains up because he wanted to kil*l someone in the same place.

He proceeded to tell detectives that he tied James with a rope from neck to ankles so that he could drag the body away out of the woods, but was too drunk and tired to continue to try and drag James’s body to a nearby creek.

Pate’s Mu*gshot Goes Viral

Pate needed a new mugshot when police charged him with mu*rder. Never one to turn down five seconds of fame, Pate opened his mouth and revealed a split tongue. The mugshot also showed the word “Satan” and the number “974” (Insane Gangster Disciple code) he wore tattooed on his forehead.

He wanted to shock anyone who saw the mugshot and accomplished that goal. Authorities say the mugshot is one of the creepiest they’ve ever taken. People in the community described Pate as “weird” and “creepy.”

The De*vil Sentenced to Life Without Parole

Most people would be shocked to learn their family member had been charged with a horrific c*rime like mur*der. Pate’s brothers were not shocked, however, since the violent behavior was atypical of him. Pate’s brothers even called him “the devil” and agreed that he deserved whatever punishment came his way.

Pate had spent his life in and out of prison after committing various c*rimes and never seemed to show any care or concern for anyone besides himself. They told reporters they hoped he died in prison and deserved whatever punishment he got.

Pate pleaded guilty to mur*der two years later. A Lancaster (South Carolina) judge sentenced him to life in prison without parole. Pate smiled and smirked as the judge handed down his sentence.

Currently incarcerated at Broad River Correctional Facility, Pate’s fascination with face tattoos has continued behind prison walls, as evidenced by his current mugshot photo.

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