One of the two men charged in the 2013 murder of Beaufort native Alex Apps pleaded guilty Wednesday, according to Ninth Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson.
Jquan Marquel Scott unexpectedly pleaded guilty to the charges -- murder, armed robbery, kidnapping, and possession of a firearm in the commission of a violent crime --he faced after Apps' death in Mount Pleasant on Oct. 3, 2013, a Ninth Circuit news release said Thursday.
Scott pleaded guilty at a pre-trial conference in Charleston County court Wednesday morning. He was scheduled to face trial in Apps' death on Monday.
According to the Charleston County Sheriff's Office, Scott and Isaac Romell Williams shot and killed Apps after responding to a Craiglist ad in which Apps had listed his Chevrolet pickup truck for sale. Apps was shot in the back of the head while he let the two men test drive the truck, and his body left in some woods near a power substation in Mount Pleasant.
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Investigators from Charleston County and the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office helped track down Scott, who was driving Apps's truck and had used the slain man's debit card at stores in Bluffton.
Four days after the shooting -- on Oct. 7 -- Scott led investigators to Apps' body.
Scott and Williams were arrested the day Apps' body was recovered and have been jailed in the Sheriff Al Cannon Detention Center since. Williams requested bond in May 2014, but was denied by a judge.
Williams is expected to face trial later this summer, according to the Solicitor's Office news release. He was charged with murder and kidnapping in Apps' death.
Scott will also face financial card fraud charges in Beaufort County stemming from his purchases in Bluffton, Sheriff's Office spokesman Capt. Bob Bromage said. The Sheriff's Office likely will serve Scott those arrest warrants once the sentencing in his case is concluded.
Scott's defense attorney, Jim Brown of Beaufort, said his client entered his guilty plea during a roster status conference updating the cases scheduled for the following week.
"The acceptance of responsibility is a significant step toward redemption and the hope of mercy," Brown said.
The Solicitor's Office release said Circuit Court Judge Kristi Lee Harrington delayed the sentencing to hear presentations from the Solicitor's Office, Scott's defense, and Apps' family. No date has been set.
Wilson said she plans to seek the maximum penalty for Scott, who faces 30 years to life in prison on the murder charge, 10 to 30 years on the armed robbery charge, up to 30 years on the kidnapping charge, and up to five years on the firearm charge, according to the release.
"We were prepared for next week's trial and were surprised the defendant decided to plead on the eve of trial," she said in a statement. "We intend to present evidence which will demonstrate to Judge Harrington that Scott deserves the maximum sentence."
Follow reporter Matt McNab at twitter.com/IPBG_Matt.