A 36-year-old Bluffton woman was found guilty in Beaufort County General Sessions Court on Wednesday in connection with the October 2015 murder of Bluffton restaurant owner Jonathan Cherol.
Colette Collins was found guilty of accessory after the fact to murder after 2 1/2 hours of jury deliberation and sentenced to 15 years in prison by Circuit Court Judge Doyet A. Early III, the maximum sentence for that crime, according to a 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office news release Wednesday night.
Cherol was a 33-year-old part-owner of Pepper’s Old Town in Bluffton when he was shot and killed on the back porch of his 39 Pinecrest Way home on Oct. 28, 2015.
Collins’ husband, Samuel Collins, was convicted of Cherol’s murder in October 2017 and sentenced to 50 years in prison. He testified against his estranged wife in her two-day trial, according to the Solicitor’s Office.
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Samuel Collins told the jury he believed his wife might have been having an affair with Cherol.
Colette Collins drove them both to Cherol’s neighborhood where the husband got out and fired two shotgun shots at Cherol’s back porch. The second shot ended his life.
“I panicked, and I left as fast as I could. I went back to the vehicle,” Samuel Collins told the jury. “I shot him, let’s go,” he said he told his wife.
They left the shotgun at a friend’s house and went back home and to work the next morning, according to the release.
“Colette Collins continued to act like she didn’t do anything wrong after she knew Sam Collins shot and killed Jonathan Cherol. She didn’t call the police,” Solicitor’s Office prosecutor Kimberly Smith said. “She didn’t ask questions because she knew what happened. She knew Sam shot Jon. Colette didn’t call Jon to check on him. The reason was because he was already dead.”