COLUMBIA — A South Carolina teen offered his friends $5,000 to kill the grandparents who raised him because he thought they were too strict, Chester County deputies said today.
The plan was to ambush both of 17-year-old Clayton Watts’ grandparents, but the grandfather stayed outside, leaving Jimmie Paul to face the attackers alone Tuesday evening, Sheriff’s Maj. Bill Murphy said. She was shot three times in the chest and killed, authorities said.
“The grandson said they were strict on him, wanted him to make good grades and behave — what normal parents want out of their kids,” Murphy said.
Watts, 19-year-old Shaderius Cohen and 18-year-old Marquaes Buchanan are all charged with murder and will stand trial as adults. They are all in jail awaiting bond hearings.
Watts approached Buchanan before Christmas at Chester High School where they are classmates and disclosed his plan to kill his grandparents, Murphy said. He said Buchanan recruited Cohen.
After school Tuesday, Watts met the other two suspects and gave them guns he had taken from the home he shared with his grandparents, deputies said.
They then waited for Paul and her husband to come home. The couple both worked for Chester County government — Mack Paul as planning director and his wife in the Clerk of Court’s office. But while Jimmie Paul went inside, her husband headed to a backyard shed to work on his boat, authorities said.
The 59-year-old grandmother was shot as she entered the home. Cohen and Buchanan ran away, while Watts went to his room and pretended to be asleep as his grandfather found the body, Murphy said.
Chester County Public Defender Mike Lifsey expects to be appointed to represent one of the suspects. He didn’t want to discuss the case until he had a chance to review the evidence deputies have collected.
This isn’t the first time the slaying of a grandparent raising a grandchild has rocked the county of 33,000 people about 50 miles north of Columbia. In 2001, a 12-year-old boy killed both his grandparents with a shotgun as they slept. Christopher Pittman blamed the killings on the antidepressant drug Zoloft. After years of battles in court, Pittman pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and is serving a 25-year sentence in state prison.
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