Crime & Courts

High school sweetheart pleads guilty in death of former SC State football player

Otis Matthew Key, Jr. and Ashley Renee Butler
Otis Matthew Key, Jr. and Ashley Renee Butler

More than five years after she shot and killed a former SC State University football player, a Johnston woman has pleaded guilty to the crime, according to a statement from the Eleventh Circuit Solicitor’s Office.

Ashley Renee Butler, 28, entered a guilty plea to charges of voluntary manslaughter Tuesday morning, a week before the trial over the death of her former boyfriend and the father of her children, Otis Matthew Key Jr.

Key was shot and killed in Johnston at the home the couple had been sharing for a little more than a year, according to the statement. A neighbor called 911, and Butler told police Key had been shot.

After police investigated the incident, they found discrepancies in Butler’s story, according to the statement.

Butler and Key were high school sweethearts, meeting at Strom Thurmond High School, according to the statement. The couple had two children together.

Butler was sentenced to 15 years in prison, according to the statement.

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