Samuel Yenawine, key suspect in murder-for-hire plot, kills himself in Georgetown County jail; his attorney questions circumstances
One of the four people arrested in connection with an alleged murder-for-hire plot in Charleston killed himself in the Georgetown County Detention Center Tuesday night, according to multiple sources.
Samuel Yenawine, 38, of Louisville, Ky., was found unresponsive due to hanging in the Georgetown County Detention Center at 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday. Yenawine was transported to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
.An autopsy indicated Yenawine died from asphyxia due to hanging, said Deputy Coroner Chase Ridgeway.
Yenawine was originally jailed in his home state after his arrest in April in connection with the alleged plot to kill Nancy Latham, a Mount Pleasant real estate agent and a state lottery official. Federal authorities later transferred him to South Carolina and kept him in a jail a county away from his co-defendants.
The State Law Enforcement Division has been called in to investigate the death.
Yenawine’s attorney, Bill Butler of Kentucky, said he will demand a full accounting of Yenawine’s death and he plans to hire a pathologist to review the autopsy findings.
He said he represented Yenawine for 12 years and saw him do jail and prison time before, including stints in solitary confinement. Butler said Yenawine has always been stoic; never suicidal.
“I’ve known Sam for a dozen years, have represented him for a dozen years,” he said. “He has been held in solitary confinement and had lots of things done to him before, and he has survived it all.”
Butler said his concern is heightened due to an anonymous phone call he received Friday from someone claiming to have been in the Georgetown jail with Yenawine. The caller told him detention officers had stripped Yenawine naked, doused him with pepper spray and denied him water to clean his eyes after a cigarette was found in his cell, Butler said.
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By Glenn Smith and Natalie Caula
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