SC prison guard shooting suspect to plead guilty

By MEG KINNARDAssociated Press

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - An Orangeburg man charged with conspiring to kill a prison guard in a hit orchestrated by an inmate on an illegal cellphone has signed a plea agreement.

Court papers filed last week show Sean Echols has agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy to use interstate facilities to arrange a murder-for-hire.

In 2010, Capt. Robert Johnson was overseeing efforts to keep contraband such as cellphones 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 cellphone smuggled into prison.

Johnson survived after months of surgeries and rehabilitation.

A formal plea hearing has been set for April 10 in Columbia. Echols is serving a 25-year state prison sentence for armed robbery and assault.


Kinnard can be reached at

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