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West Columbia teen convicted of kidnapping and murder in death of 15-year-old

Lexington, SC 05/24/2023 – Eleventh Circuit Solicitor Rick Hubbard’s office announced today that Nicolle Sanchez-Peralta, age 18, of West Columbia, has been convicted on charges of Murder and Kidnapping in the shooting death of Sanaa Amenhotep, who was 15 at the time of her death. The jury trial began on Monday, May 15th and concluded late Tuesday afternoon when a Lexington County jury returned a guilty verdict on both charges. Hubbard’s staff said that Sanchez-Peralta will remain at the Lexington County Detention Center until her sentencing date.

Two co-defendants in this case have already entered guilty pleas on all charges. Treveon J. Nelson, 20, and Jaylen S. Wilson,19, elected to plead guilty in lieu of going forward with a trial. Both Nelson and Wilson entered guilty pleas on charges of Murder, Kidnapping, Criminal Conspiracy, and Possession of a Weapon during commission of a Violent Crime. The State made no plea deals with any of the defendants in this case.

Sentencing for all three defendants including Sanchez-Peralta, Nelson, and Wilson is currently scheduled for Friday, June 30th, 2023. That hearing will be in front of the Honorable Debra R. McCaslin in Lexington County General Sessions Court.

This case was prosecuted by Eleventh Circuit Solicitor Rick Hubbard and his Deputy Solicitor Suzanne Mayes. The Lexington County Sheriff’s Department worked in conjunction with the Richland County Sheriff’s Department during the ongoing murder investigation.

According to testimony given in open court, Sanaa Amenhotep vanished from her Richland County Apartment Complex on the night of April 5th, 2021. Investigators later determined that she had been abducted by Sanchez-Peralta with assistance from Nelson, and Wilson. The 3 defendants then drove Amenhotep to a secluded, wooded location in the Leesville area of Lexington County. Testimony presented during the trial established that Amenhotep was beaten and sustained at least 14 gunshot wounds. The defendants then buried her body in a shallow grave. That grave was located by law enforcement on April 28, 2021 following an extensive search. Multiple law enforcement agencies and members of the community combined efforts to locate Sanaa Amenhotep during the time in which she was reported missing.

Because of the serious nature of these crimes, none of the 3 defendants will be eligible for parole or early release. Instead, all 3 will have to serve out their entire sentences prior to their release. We will update this story when we receive information regarding their sentencing.


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