Murder-for-hire suspect commits suicide in Georgetown jail

Published: Jun. 26, 2013 at 1:56 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 26, 2013 at 7:37 PM EDT
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GEORGETOWN COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - A key suspect in a federal murder-for-hire plot targeting a Mt. Pleasant woman has committed suicide in the Georgetown County jail.

A source close to the investigation confirmed to Reporter Harve Jacobs early Wednesday that 38-year-old Samuel Arthur Yenawine apparently hanged himself in the Georgetown County Detention Center on Tuesday night.

Correctional officers at the jail on Browns Ferry Road found Yenawine unresponsive Tuesday night around 9:30 pm. He was then taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Yenawine's longtime attorney, Bill Butler of Kentucky, said he will have his own pathologist go over the details in the autopsy report to determine what transpired before his death.

Butler said he thought suicide was out of character for Yenawine, and also mentioned an anonymous phone call he answered last Friday, where the caller told him Yenawine had been stripped naked and doused with pepper spray by detention officers.

The caller told the attorney the officers also would not give Yenawine any water to relieve the pain. Butler says he was told the officers were punishing Yenawine after a cigarette was found in his cell. Butler also said the caller told him Yenawine insisted the cigarette was not his.

"I just want to know what happened," Butler said.

Yenawine was accused of conspiring with his ex-wife, Wendy Moore, Aaron Russell Wilkinson, and Rachel Palmer, his girlfriend, to murder Nancy Latham. Court testimony has revealed Moore was living with and working for Latham's estranged husband, Christopher Latham.

Chris Latham has not been charged in the alleged plot.

The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division is the lead investigating agency in Yenawine's death. SLED, along with the sheriff's office and federal investigators, have declined comment in the case.

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