Lawyers: Third suspect to plead guilty in Chester murder-for-hire plot

Clayton Watts, left, and Marqueas Buchanan
Clayton Watts, left, and Marqueas Buchanan

The alleged broker among three Chester teens who conspired in a 2013 murder-for hire plot to kill the grandmother of one of them is expected to plead guilty Wednesday and be sentenced along with the victim’s grandson, who hatched the scheme.

The hearing for Marqueas Buchanan, now 20, comes two months after his Rock Hill attorney was shot and killed himself in an unrelated case in Spartanburg.

Buchanan, who has been jailed without bond since his arrest in January 2013, is scheduled to be in court Wednesday, prosecutors and defense lawyers said Tuesday. Buchanan is expected to enter a plea consistent with the pleas of the other two defendants in the case, said Gary Lemel, the lawyer appointed to represent Buchanan after his lawyer, Cyrus Hinton, was murdered in April, allegedly by Hinton’s own son.

Clayton Eli Watts, 19, grandson of Jimmie Paul, the victim in the January 2013 killing, pleaded guilty in April to cooking up the plot to kill her because she was too strict. Watts testified when he pleaded guilty in April that he offered $10,000 to Buchanan, a friend from Chester High School at the time in late 2012 and early 2013, to kill his grandparents.

Watts sent Buchanan a text message that read: “I’m gonna pick you up and you are gonna help me kill my grandmother.” He testified that Buchanan enlisted Shaiderius Cohen to handle the actual shooting.

Watts is set to be sentenced Wednesday after Buchanan.

Cohen pleaded guilty last month but has not been sentenced. All face a minimum of 30 years in prison.

Watts admitted that he planned to use $10,000 he expected to inherit after his grandparents were killed to pay for their killings. Money never changed hands and the grandfather, Mack Paul, escaped injury after going to a garage instead of into the couples’ rural Chester home, where Jimmie Paul was gunned down.

Watts stole two guns from his grandparents to use in the killing.

Andrew Dys •  803-329-4065