Florence woman pleads guilty to the murder of a woman who was staying at her home

Pee Dee Crime

FLORENCE, SC (WBTW) – A Florence woman appeared in court Thursday where she pleaded guilty on one count of murder and was sentenced.

Cecilia Knox pleaded guilty to one count of murder and a judge sentenced her to life in prison, which was the maximum sentence.

Cecelia Elaine Knox (left), Jana Lynn Knox (middle), Jimmy Lee Knox (right). Photos: Florence County Detention Center.

Cecilia along with Jana Knox and Jimmy Knox were arrested earlier this year in connection with the death of Tara Echevarria. Investigators allege that Cecelia Knox killed Echevarria “on or about April 21, 2019.” Echevarria was reportedly staying at the home of Cecelia Knox and Jana Knox on McKeithan Road.

Investigators also allege that Jana Knox “had knowledge of the murder having been committed and assisted Cecelia Knox in disposing of the victim’s body and vehicle.”

Jimmy Knox is alleged to have helped Cecelia Knox and Jana Knox in disposing of the victim’s body. He was taken into custody outside of Atlanta, Georgia before being taken to Florence County.

***Warning graphic details below***

According to the Solicitor’s Office on April 21 Cecilia and Jana were having an argument at McLeod Hospital over financial issues. Jana was scheduled for surgery and remained at the hospital but when Cecilia left she called Echevarria asking her to protect her child because she believed that Cecilia would harm him.

Echevarria was visiting while she was on her way from California to Florida. She tries to keep the child away from Cecilia and calls 911. According to the Solicitor’s office, that call was “quite dark” and the last words from Echevarria were trying to get help for the child.

According to a confession given by the child, after the call, Cecilia started to beat Echevarria in the guest room, beating her so badly “that the carpet was covered in blood.”

The child then testified that Cecilia dragged Echevarria into the bathtub where she struck Echevarria twice in the back of the head.

Deputies investigated and they say they could see the blood splattered across the bathroom wall.

According to the Solicitor’s Office, Jana called home and hung up before calling 911 to tell deputies she thinks Cecilia will harm the child.

The Solicitor’s Office says that law enforcement arrived at the Knox home and that Echevarria was already dead. The Solicitor’s Office says that Cecilia told the child to lie to law enforcement and they greet deputies and tell them that Echevarria already left the scene.

Cecilia and the child then go back to the hospital to pick up Jana, according to the Solicitor’s Office. When they returned to the house they take Echevarria’s car and hide it back at McLeod.

According to the Solicitor’s Office Cecilia then takes Jana and the child to a hotel room for the night before driving to Atlanta to pick up her brother Jimmy Knox. They then drive back to Florence to load up the body of Echevarria and take it back south to Atlanta.

After dropping her brother off Cecilia then drives back to Florence, picks up Jana and the child at the hotel and go to the beach for a vacation they had already planned, according to the Solicitor’s Office.

The Solicitor’s Office says that guilt eventually overcame them and they called law enforcement to turn themselves in.

In May, News13’s Briana Fernandez spoke to the daughters of the victim, who said they are in shock and disbelief that their mother was making a quick stop to help a friend and that was the last time they heard from her. 

Count on News13 for updates on this story

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