Murder suspect pleads guilty before trial begins, sentenced to 55 years

BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C. (WCIV) - The man who was supposed to go to trial Monday in a 2012 double murder of two young women said he wanted to plead guilty.

The decision comes as attorneys planned to select the jury. After victims' statements, the judge sentenced Matlock to 55 years in prison on the two murder charges.

The sentences will run concurrently.

"I just want this to be over. I'm living in hell and will continue to live in hell. I'm sorry," said Caleb Matlock.

Matlock and his cousin Arthur Ray Chavis are accused of killing 18-year-old Dana Marie Woods and 22-year-old June Guerry in September 2012. Investigators said the two men were acquaintances with the two women.

Chavis was supposed to be a witness in Matlock's trial.

Ninth Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson said Monday the murders started as a plot to commit armed robbery. Wilson said Matlock stole one of the victims' wallets and shot them both in the back of the head. He coaxed the two women into the forest by offering to pay them $50 to help him look for his wallet, Wilson said.

It was all part of a plan to fix Matlock's car, Wilson said.

According to Wilson, Matlock was still carrying the gun when he was arrested.

"He should be hung. In my opinion, he should be hung," said Guerry's father, Charles Britt while giving victim's testimony.

Guerry's sister said the two women used to babysit Matlock and pleaded with him to say why they singled out Guerry and Woods.

The men were charged with murder initially, but Berkeley County deputies added charges of armed robbery and weapons possession.

According to investigators, Woods' body was found near her Cordesville home while Guerry's body was found near Alvin.

Court documents show a witness told detectives that one of the suspects admitted to killing the women with a 9-millimeter handgun. Court documents also show both men admitted to investigators they had been involved in the deaths.

Guerry's family said they last saw the two women on Aug. 26, 2012 when Woods stopped by Guerry's home to pick her up.