Lexington County teen pleads guilty to 2021 murder of Sanaa Amenhotep

Published: May. 22, 2023 at 11:09 AM EDT

LEXINGTON, S.C. – (WIS) A Lexington County teenager pleaded guilty to murder in the 2021 death of Sanaa Amenhotep, a Richland County 15-year-old.

Prosecutors say 19-year-old Jaylen Wilson, along with Treveon Nelson, who also pleaded guilty in the case, and Nazareth “Nicolle” Sanchez-Peralta, who currently faces trial, lured Amenhotep away from her northeast Columbia home on April 5, 2021, held her in a stolen Toyota Camry, drove her to a wooded area in Leesville, and brutally killed her.

According to reports, three suspects lured Amenhotep from her home in Richland County and held...
According to reports, three suspects lured Amenhotep from her home in Richland County and held her in a stolen vehicle as they traveled to Leesville.(Miranda Parnell)

Wilson pleaded guilty to murder, kidnapping, possession of a weapon during a violent crime and criminal conspiracy in connection with Amenhotep’s death before Judge Debra McCaslin at the Lexington County courthouse Monday morning.

He faces up to life in prison.

During the plea hearing, state prosecutor Suzanne Mayes outlined the facts of the case.

In an interview with law enforcement on April 27, 2021, Sanchez-Peralta implicated Wilson and Nelson as the shooters.

The state believes her statements at that time “seriously minimized and decreased her level of involvement” in the killing.

Mayes detailed text messages between Wilson and Nelson on the afternoon of April 5 before Amenhotep’s disappearance that indicate Wilson knew about the plan to kidnap the teenager.

Wilson spoke with law enforcement in a recorded interview, and initially denied ever meeting Amenhotep. He said he only knew of her because he had seen a missing person poster at a gas station.

He later changed his statement, and said he was asleep in the car when she was abducted, but denied being present when she was murdered.

Phone evidence obtained through a search warrant disputed Wilson’s story.

A pair of guns, which have been determined to be the murder weapons in this case, were later discovered at Wilson’s home.

Wilson’s DNA was found on both of those firearms.

McCaslin said she will defer sentencing until Sanchez-Peralta’s trial concludes.

This is a developing story. Check back here for updates.

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