GREENVILLE CO., SC (WSPA) — Four men have pleaded guilty in an 2018 attack involving a well-known Upstate couple.
The judge called the attack on the W.E. Willis Store owner and his wife, one of the most “horrific crimes” he had seen in his career. The men who pleaded guilty on Monday now face decades in jail.
Jack Foreman IV, Jack Foreman III, Jeffrey Mullins Jr., and Da’Juan Young, were all accused of attempted murder, kidnapping and other charges.
“The state’s glad for the Willis family to finally get justice in this particular case. It’s been a long time coming, three years for this case to come to trial,” said Walt Wilkins, Greenville County Solicitor.
Warren and Ann Willis were brutally attacked on September 28, 2018. Solicitor Wilkins said six people were involved in the main crime.
“With six defendants engaging in this horrific crime, premediated, calculated, planned, and brutal,” Wilkins said.
Wilkins said four of the people came from Florida.
“It was a complicated crime. It started months before when they bought a tracker, put it on the victim’s car and they were just on their cell phone through an app, watch the movements of that victim so that they knew every location of his business. He had multiple in Travelers Rest area. They knew where he lived. They were able to surveil him. They went to one of his locations and videoed inside of it,” Wilkins said.
Investigators said Warren was kidnapped from his store in Landrum, bound by zipped ties, beaten, and robbed. They said he was later taken to his Traveler’s Rest home, where his wife was also assaulted, shot, and stabbed.
“One of the victims were shot twice, and it’s a miracle she is still with us today,” Wilkins said.
Officials said Foreman III, was the “CEO” and ringleader of it all. Foreman III, was sentenced to 60 years in prison for a burglary first degree charge, his son Foreman IV, was sentenced to 45 years in prison for the burglary charge. Mullins was sentenced to 55 years on the burglary charge, and Young was sentenced to 60 years, also on the burglary charge. Solicitor Wilkins said the men faced other charges and sentencing for those crimes, will run concurrently with the burglary sentence. Wilkins said the men received the longest sentence on the first-degree burglary charges, and received the maximum sentences on other charges.
“This was their business they would go do robberies in other areas and decided to choose the Willis’ house in Travelers Rest. They would come to Greenville, they had family here in Greenville, so it wasn’t a random spot. They knew the area and they had an opportunity they felt was a good one and engaged in the violent behavior necessary accomplish it,” Wilkins said.
Solicitor Wilkins said money was the motive.
“The motive was money. They believed that the victims had large amounts of money in their house, based on the information that they received on that tracker. They knew he had a lot of businesses, a lot of cash businesses and that he wasn’t going to the bank very often,” Wilkins said. “And so they made the incorrect assumption that there was millions of dollars located inside of their house and that’s what brought them to that day.”
Wilkins said two people pleaded guilty two years ago, and will have their sentencing later this week. He also said three other suspects involved in this case were charged as accessories after the fact, and their cases are still pending.
The victims were in the courtroom on Monday and were not able to speak with the media just yet.
“They are absolutely wonderful people, and my heart breaks that they had to endure this most horrific crime,” Wilkins said. “I’m sure it has changed their life forever and ever, but hopefully today they can have a little bit of solace in the fact that those individuals will never harm them or anyone again, for a very very long time.”