ABINGDON, Va. -- The Mendota man charged in the deaths of three women in Washington County is considered a serial killer, Sheriff Fred Newman said this afternoon.

James Michael Wright, 23, is believed to have shot and killed three women over 18 days, Newman said during a news conference. Newman was surrounded by a host of representatives from law enforcement agencies in Virginia and Tennessee that have helped in the investigation or search.

Commonwealth's Attorney Josh Cumbow said it's early in the case but the death penalty is "definitely on the table."

Wright met the women, identified as two women from Tennessee and a 17-year-old from Georgia, while he was working for a traveling carnival, Newman said.

Wright, who confessed to the killings but claimed they were an accident, doesn't have a criminal history, the sheriff said.

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