Samuel Yenawine jotted down his final words on a napkin, then tied a bed sheet around his neck.
A short time later on June 25, 2013, he was found hanging from a light fixture inside his cell in the Georgetown County jail, where he was awaiting trial for his role in a murder-for hire plot.
"Look I'm really sorry about this," the note stated. "I'm finally FREE!!"
The 38-year-old Louisville, Ky., man took his life two months after his April 2013 arrest in connection with the plot to kill Mount Pleasant real estate agent Nancy Cannon. Yenawine was the alleged hit man in a scheme that also involved his ex-wife and her boyfriend, Cannon's estranged husband.
His suicide note and a report on the investigation into his death were obtained by The Post and Courier through a Freedom of Information Act request submitted to the State Law Enforcement Division.
In the note, scrawled on a napkin, Yenawine apologized to his attorney for causing "all the drama" and expressed love for his girlfriend, Rachel Palmer, who also was snared in the case.
Investigators obtained a copy of the note from a former cellmate and friend of Yenawine's, Tyler Tudor, 25, of Pawleys Island. Tudor told investigators he mailed the original to Yenawine's attorney, as Yenawine had requested before his death. Most of the two-page suicide note was addressed to Palmer, whom he called "Ray Ray." She was pregnant with their child at the time.
"I already know you don't need this and Im extra sorry to put this on ya, look, Im hurting so bad I cant put it in words," Yenawine stated in the note. "Been in the hole four days with no mat or nothing, No Bible either, Satan is killing me with memories of us."
Yenawine told Palmer to love their baby the way she loved him and asked her to sign over his bike title to a friend.
"Please find someone who will love you and our kids," he wrote.
Yenawine didn't mention the plot in the letter. Instead, he apologized to Palmer.
"I'm taking a chance here," Yenawine stated in the note. "But I believe I am right with God."
A final request
Yenawine also addressed a section of his note to Kentucky attorney Bill Butler, who was representing Yenawine in the murder-for-hire case. Butler had previously represented Yenawine in a fatal stabbing and arson case that landed him behind bars for 10 years.
In his note, Yenawine told Butler his job was now over.
"Thanks for being my friend," he stated. "Know in your heart I always loved you, even when I felt you left me in prison, I put myself there, not your fault."
Yenawine also asked Butler to give Palmer some money for their child.
"I feel like this saved you a lot of time, so please give her some of the 100K, its for my kid," the note stated.
The parents of Wendy Moore, Yenawine's ex-wife and codefendant in the murder-for-hire case, had paid Butler to represent Yenawine in the trial, according to prosecutors.
It's unclear if Butler provided any of the money to Palmer.
Butler has not responded to numerous attempts by The Post and Courier to contact him in recent months.
Shortly after Yenawine's suicide, Butler spoke to the newspaper and demanded a full account of the death and said Yenawine always had been stoic, never suicidal.
In a June 2013 interview, Butler said he received an anonymous phone call claiming Yenawine had been mistreated in the Georgetown County jail after a cigarette was found in his cell. "I don't know that mistreatment had anything to do with this, but I'm going to get to the bottom of it," he said.
SLED's investigation, however, uncovered no evidence of criminal wrongdoing, and 14th Solicitor Jimmy Richardson determined that no charges were warranted in the case. The county coroner has ruled the death a suicide.
The existence of Yenawine's suicide note was revealed to the public last month during the federal trial of Moore and Cannon's now-ex-husband, Chris Latham, a former Charleston bank executive.
Moore was accused of recruiting Yenawine to carry out the hit, and Latham was accused of aiding and abetting the plan, which was discovered before any harm came to Cannon. Both were convicted at trial and are awaiting sentencing.
Tudor testified during their trial and said Yenawine had been a good friend in jail. He also stated that Yenawine had been upset about not having his Bible while in solitary confinement.
"He used to ask me to pray with him," Tudor said during the trial. "He was heavily into his Bible."
Tudor testified that Yenawine talked to him as he prepared to hang himself in the adjacent cell.
Tudor told authorities he hit an emergency button, kicked a door and even made gestures to appear as if he was hanging himself in order to get the officers' attention.
It took an officer 20 to 30 minutes to respond, according to the SLED report.
By the time authorities knew something was wrong and enacted a "code blue," Yenawine was unresponsive, the report stated.
An officer and nurse rushed to the cell at around 9:30 p.m., according to the report. The officer held Yenawine while the nurse cut the sheet that was around his neck with a pair of scissors, the report stated.
Paramedics tried to revive Yenawine and transported him to the Georgetown County Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
It remains unclear if any policies or procedures were violated by Georgetown County jail employees during the incident. Georgetown County sheriff's officials did not respond to a request for comment Monday.
Reach Natalie Caula Hauff at 937-5594 or Twitter.com/ncaula.
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