Orangeburg Man Charged in Murder-for-Hire Scheme Targeting South Carolina Corrections Officer
Contact Person: Beth Drake (803) 929-3000
Columbia, South Carolina -----United States Attorney Bill Nettles stated today that SEAN ECHOLS, age 29, of Orangeburg, South Carolina, appeared in court today for an arraignment before United States Magistrate Judge Shiva V. Hodges. ECHOLS was charged in April, 2013, in a three-count Sealed Indictment charging him with (1) conspiring with others to murder South Carolina Corrections Captain Robert Johnson in return for a payment of $6,000.00 in cash; (2) using facilities of interstate commerce in connection with the attempted murder of Captain Johnson; and (3) using and discharging a firearm in connection with a crime of violence. Mr. Nettles stated that the Indictment was unsealed today before Magistrate Judge Hodges.
Mr. Nettles stated ECHOLS faces a maximum sentence of 20-years imprisonment if convicted of either Count One or Count Two of the Indictment. Count Three, the firearms count, carries a mandatory minimum term of 10-years imprisonment and a maximum term of life which must be imposed to run consecutively to any other sentence ECHOLS is serving.
Captain Johnson worked tirelessly to rid the Lee County Correctional Facility of contraband prior to his shooting on March 5, 2010, and luckily, he survived that shooting. Mr. Nettles commended the efforts of the agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) who have worked diligently on this investigation. The case will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Mark C. Moore and William Witherspoon of the Columbia office.
Mr. Nettles stated that, like all defendants, ECHOLS is presumed innocent of the charges unless and until proven guilty.