Hearing for man accused in SC prison guard hit

Lee Correctional Facility (SC Dept. of Corrections)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- An Orangeburg man accused of conspiring to kill a South Carolina prison guard in a hit orchestrated by an inmate using an illegal cell phone is expected in court.

Sean Echols is scheduled to have a pretrial hearing in federal court Wednesday. He has pleaded not guilty on charges including conspiring to murder a prison guard for $6,000.

Capt. Robert Johnson was a Corrections Department veteran in 2010 who oversaw efforts to keep contraband like cell phones out of Lee Correctional Institution. He was shot six times early one morning at his Sumter home, and police say an inmate organized the hit using a cell phone smuggled into prison.

Johnson survived. Officials say he was the first U.S. corrections officer harmed by a hit ordered from an inmate's cell phone.