Beaufort News

Port Royal man pleads guilty to murder, conspiracy charges, sentenced to 38 years

Anthony Ellison
Anthony Ellison Beaufort County Detention Center

The day after his former girlfriend was sentenced to 50 years on murder and conspiracy charges, a Port Royal man was sentenced Thursday to 38 years in prison in connection with the same case.

Anthony Ellison, 39, plead guilty to murder and conspiracy in connection with the Jan. 9, 2015, shooting death of Nicholas Degros, then 30, of Beaufort.

Arie Bax, Ellison’s public defender, requested the minimum sentence of 30 years, saying that term would be a sufficient punishment “considering the factors” of the case and Ellison’s “very traumatic history,” including mental health issues.

Circuit Court Judge Michael Nettles determined Ellison will serve five years for conspiracy and 38 years for murder. The sentences will be served concurrently.

Ellison entered into a plea deal with the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office for a 30- to 40-year sentence in exchange for his testimony against Jasmine Femia, 23, of Port Royal.

A jury found Femia guilty on charges of murder and conspiracy in Beaufort County Courthouse on Wednesday.

Ellison admitted in testimony Tuesday that he killed Degros by firing three bullets into his head.

Degros and Femia were scheduled to go to family court on Jan. 14, 2015, over Femia’s alleged child visitation violation. Ellison testified Femia feared she would lose her children and wanted Degros out of the way.

Ellison addressed the court Thursday and apologized for his actions.

Degros’ family was present at Ellison’s sentencing. They expressed through Degros’ aunt Christine Negron that, though nothing could bring back their beloved nephew, the family was thankful to Ellison for his testimony and credited the outcome of the trial to it.

After the sentencing, 14th Circuit Assistant Solicitor Hunter Swanson said she was relieved by the outcome of both cases. She said Ellison’s testimony “helped get us where we needed to be with the circumstantial evidence,” and that she was thankful for a “smart jury” during Femia’s trial that grasped the sometimes difficult concept of “the hand of one is the hand of all.” The rule of law addresses how more than one person can be charged with murder if both were actively involved in the planning.

“I don’t think defendents get more evil than Jasmine Femia,” Swanson said.

Joan McDonough: 843-706-8125, @IPBG_Joan