Breaking News
More () »

'It's not over yet': Family of Sanaa Amenhotep speaks out after the guilty verdict

After two years of waiting for justice, Sanaa Amenhotep's family says Tuesday's guilty verdict is not the end.

LEXINGTON, S.C. — A third person is guilty of kidnapping and killing a 15-year-old Columbia girl. A jury convicted Nicolle Sanchez-Peralta for the murder of Sanaa Amenhotep back in 2021.

"I feel a sense of relief but I know there is still a climb in this thing called justice for Sanaa," said Sanaa Amenhotep's mother, Saleemah Graham-Flemming.

Smiles came across faces in the courtroom Tuesday as a guilty verdict was read for Nicolle Sanchez-Peralta who was found guilty of helping kidnap and kill 15-year-old Sanaa Amenhotep. 

Sanaa's parents say the verdict was a piece of what they have been waiting on for the last two years.

Sanchez-Peralta was tried as an adult and plead not guilty. They say she and two other men lured Sanaa out of her home, shot and killed her, then buried her in a rural part of Lexington County just off I-20.

During the trial, the defense tried to argue that Sanchez-Peralta had been abused by another suspect, Treveon Nelson, who was her boyfriend at the time and was forced to participate in the crime.

The prosecution however said she was a willing participant in the murder.

After six days of testimony and evidence being presented, the decision was left up to the jury. They were charged after 1:00 p.m. and started their deliberations at around 1:45, and had a guilty verdict 30 minutes later.

After the verdict was read out in court, the prosecution celebrated with hugs and shaking hands with Sanaa's family. However, Sanchez-Peralta's mother left the courtroom inconsolable. 

 Sanaa's parents said they never want to see anything like their daughter's case happen ever again.

"When I say that I don't want this to happen to another family, that's exactly what I'm speaking of, the evil that befell our family could easily befall anybody else's, and that's why justice needs to be served in this particular case because the act itself was so gruesome, that young people need to know, never again," Saleemah Graham-Flemming said. 

Judge Debra McCaslin has set a tentative date for sentencing on June 30, and Sanaa's family says they plan to attend to read victim impact statements. 

That tentative date is subject to change based on the availability of both sets of attorneys and families in the case as well. 

Sanchez-Peralta's team has already made the motion for a retrial in her case after sentencing is complete.

Before You Leave, Check This Out