Man who killed West Ashley woman near police pleads guilty

Arthur Peterson of James Island pleaded guilty but mentally ill to the March 2011 fatal shooting of Gwen Fields in her West Ashley home.

A man who was charged with murder in 2011 after he shot and killed a West Ashley woman while a Charleston police officer stood in the next room pleaded guilty this week to a lesser charge.

Arthur Peterson, 36, of Wellington Drive in Charleston, pleaded guilty but mentally ill to voluntary manslaughter on Thursday in a Charleston County General Sessions courtroom, according to county Clerk of Court officials.

Peterson shot and killed 45-year-old Gwendolyn Fields on March 14, 2011 at a home on Taberwood Circle, according to police.

Peterson, who would come over to the home to pray with Fields’ paralyzed daughter, 24-year-old Shakeyra Fields, shot Gwen Fields in the kitchen of her home, police said.

Fields’ brother, Larry, has said Peterson described himself as Shakeyra’s preacher.

But Peterson’s attorney, Joshua Kendrick of Columbia, has said his client does not claim to be a minister and is not affiliated with a particular church.

The day of the killing, Peterson showed up at the home at about 9:15 a.m. and went into Shakeyra’s room. When he emerged a short time later, he demanded to know where the woman’s mother, Gwen Fields, was, according to police. After Gwen Fields arrived home, Peterson got on the phone and called 911 around 10 a.m.

Dispatchers told responding patrol officers that the caller was alleging that someone had been abused by her mother the night before, a report said.

About 10:53 a.m., one officer was in the living room when he heard three gunshots and saw Peterson coming out of the kitchen holding a gun, an arrest warrant said.

A Circuit Court judge deferred Peterson’s sentencing until May.

Read more in upcoming editions of The Post and Courier.

Reach Natalie Caula at 937-5594 or

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