Man sentenced to life for killing estranged wife near South Congaree in 2015
Lexington, SC - Sean Patrick Peters, age 39, received a sentence of life in prison following his guilty plea to murder in the shooting death of his wife, Rachel Peters, on December 13, 2015. Eleventh Circuit Chief Administrative Judge Eugene C. Griffith, Jr. imposed the sentence earlier this morning in Lexington County. Peters will not be eligible for parole.
The murder trial of Sean Peters was scheduled to begin next Monday, however, he opted to plead guilty in advance of trial. During the plea, Eleventh Circuit Solicitor Rick Hubbard presented the facts of what he termed “an incredibly tragic, horrific case” of domestic violence. Solicitor Hubbard stated “before this incident occurred, by all account of outsiders looking in, they appeared to be an ideal family.” Hubbard explained that Rachel had two daughters from a previous marriage and that she and Sean Peters were married in 2012. They resided together at the family home located at 4280 Greenwood Drive in Lexington County.
However, the seemingly ideal marriage fell apart in early November of 2015. Solicitor Hubbard described that Rachel Peters obtained an order of protection from a Lexington County Family Court judge on November 3, 2015. The order of protection prohibited Sean Peters from any contact with Rachel Peters. He was restrained from going near the family residence where Rachel resided with her two daughters, who were ages 10 and 12 at the time. Over the course of the next month, Rachel Peters pursued a divorce from Sean Peters and followed through with efforts to sever all ties with him. A review of all phone and text messages of Rachel Peters confirmed that she had no further contact with her estranged husband.
In the early morning hours of December 13, 2015, at approximately 5:00 am, Sean Peters broke into the family home on Greenwood Drive. Rachel Peters was sleeping in the master bedroom with her 10 year old daughter. The child witness reported that she and her mother awoke to find Peters in their bedroom armed with a revolver. He was dressed in black and held them both at gunpoint. After threatening the child with the gun, he ordered Rachel Peters out of the bed. Peters then ordered Rachel to undress. Evidence obtained from crime scene investigators with the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department indicate that Rachel was shot in the master bedroom while her daughter was awake in bed several feet away.
An autopsy revealed that Rachel sustained two gunshot wounds to the head. Both were contact wounds, indicating that Peters held the gun directly against her head.
Following the murder, Peters remained in the home with the 10 year old child. Rachel’s other daughter, age 12, was staying at a friend’s home for the night and was not present during the homicide. At 7:41 am, Peters called the Lexington County 911 Center and requested that a S.W.A.T unit be sent to the residence. Upon arrival of deputies from the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department, officers began negotiating with Peters in an attempt to rescue the child. Peters refused to send the child outside to officers.
Solicitor Hubbard commended Master Deputy Eddie Richardson for his swift action in this case by using a cigarette and brief conversation to get Peters to open the door. In court, Hubbard praised the 10 year old child for her bravery and quick thinking. At one point during the crisis, the child appeared at the door and distracted Peters. This action allowed Deputy Richardson to deploy his taser and ultimately apprehend Peters. Hubbard stated “her actions, coupled with Deputy Richardson, counteracted any plan by Peters for further harm.”
During the investigation, it was determined that Peters rented a hotel room on December 11th at the Value Place Inn, located near Highway 1 in Lexington County. While staying at the hotel, Peters purchased a black powder muzzle loader firearm from Sportsman’s Warehouse. A search of his hotel room revealed that he also purchased .22 caliber ammunition and a set of handcuffs. Both the .22 caliber revolver and the black powder gun were recovered by law enforcement officers at the crime scene on Greenwood Drive.
During the sentencing hearing, Tami Childs, the mother of Rachel Peters, addressed Judge Griffith. Both children are currently in the care of Ms. Childs, in another state, as a result of their mother’s murder. Ms. Childs described her daughter as a “beautiful light that glowed with love.” She also described the impact of Rachel’s death on her two daughters. Ms. Childs noted all of the life events that Rachel will not be able to share with her daughters, including graduations, their weddings, and to someday “walk them through their pregnancies and hold their children.”
This case was prosecuted by 11th Circuit Solicitor Rick Hubbard and Deputy Solicitor Suzanne Mayes. The investigation was conducted by Sgt. Traci Barr of the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department.