Orangeburg man pleads guilty to conspiracy in shooting of prison guard

ORANGEBURG,S.C. (WCIV) - An Orangeburg man pleaded guilty Wednesday to conspiracy to commitmurder-for-hire in the shooting of a corrections officer.

According tothe U.S. Attorney's Office, 30-year-old Sean Echols pleaded guilty and is nowawaiting a sentencing hearing.

Prosecutorsshowed in a hearing that during the morning of March 5, 2010, a member of thestate's Department of Corrections was met at his home by a gunman who shot himin the chest.

Investigatorsfound that the shooting was done as retaliation for the officer's enforcementof contraband rules at a corrections facility. The investigation revealed thatearlier in 2010, a plot was hatched among certain inmates to retaliate against theofficer so that the shipments of contraband into the prison would not bedisrupted.

A shakedownof the prison revealed a cellular phone belonging to and used by that specificinmate.{}Cellphone records connected that inmate to another recentlyreleased inmate, Sean Echols.{}

Throughinterviews, agents learned that Echols had communicated through cellphones withthe inmate and discussed the plot to kill the officer, specifying how to carryout the shooting and what Echols would receive in exchange for his role in theplot.{}

Echols iscurrently behind bars in Orangeburg on an unrelated charge. He faces up to 20years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the conspiracy charge.