Shooter in Chester grandmother’s murder pleads guilty

FILE Shaiderius Cohen enters court in Chester.
FILE Shaiderius Cohen enters court in Chester.

The shooter among three Chester County defendants charged in connection with the 2013 murder-for-hire plot to kill the grandmother of one of the boys pleaded guilty to murder Tuesday, prosecutors said.

Shaiderius Cohen, 21, will be sentenced at a later date. He faces 30 years to life in prison, Sixth Circuit Assistant Solicitor Julie Hall said.

Clayton Eli Watts, 19, pleaded guilty last month to being the mastermind of the plot to kill his grandmother, Jimmie Paul, 59, at her home near Chester. Watts admitted that he hired Marqueas Buchanan – who is still facing murder charges – to kill his grandmother because she was too strict.

All three were at one time students at Chester High School.

Prosecutors say Buchanan recruited Cohen into the scheme that Watts had been planning since September 2012, four months before Paul was killed in January 2013. The plan was to kill both Paul, who worked in the Chester County clerk of court’s office, and her husband, county Planning Director Mack Paul.

When the couple arrived home after work on the day of the shooting, Jimmie Paul was shot and killed after walking into the kitchen. Mack Paul’s detour to a shed behind the home spared his life, investigators have said.

Buchanan and Cohen fled after the shooting, Watts testified in April, but he went back to his room, closed the door and fell asleep before his grandfather came inside to find Jimmie Paul dead.

Watts planned to use $10,000 he expected to inherit from his grandparents to pay Buchanan, he testified, but no money ever changed hands. Watts took the gun used in the shooting from his grandparents’ bedroom.

Cohen admitted to police after he was arrested that he later sold the gun used in the killing for drugs.

It remains unclear when Buchanan, 20, will be back in court. He had been scheduled to appear in April, but his lawyer at the time, Cyrus Hinton, was shot and killed in an unrelated crime, allegedly by Hinton’s own son.

Andrew Dys •  803-329-4065