Even prosecutors had recommended that a judge grant Timothy Shafer mercy.
Kanawha Circuit Judge Duke Bloom, though, didn’t buy Shafer’s excuse that drugs made him participate in the stabbing death of a St. Albans woman. Bloom rejected prosecutors’ recommendations, and sentenced Shafer to life in prison without mercy.
If the judge had allowed mercy, Shafer could have been eligible for parole after 15 years. Kanawha Assistant Prosecutor Dan Holstein said prosecutors were recommending mercy for Shafer because of his cooperation with their investigation.
Shafer, 29, of St. Albans, never actually stabbed Nancy Burdette Lynch, he said while pleading guilty last month. He was there when it happened, though, and he didn’t try to stop it.
On Jan. 4, Shafer went with Jessica May Wilson, 28, to Lynch’s home to rob her of money and prescription pills. Wilson allegedly got a knife and Shafer said he had a fake gun. When Lynch didn’t have money and hesitated to provide her debit card pin number, Wilson began stabbing her, according to Shafer.
Wilson also is charged with first-degree murder in Lynch’s death but, in June, she was found incompetent to stand trial.
Shafer also went back several times after the slaying with Megan Marie Hughes and stole from Lynch’s home. Bloom sentenced Hughes, 28, last week to one to 15 years for nighttime burglary and five years for accessory after the fact to murder.
“All over a stupid drug addiction,” Shafer told Bloom before he was sentenced.
Bloom, however, said Shafer had the chance to get help when he was arrested several years ago for conspiracy to commit grand larceny.
“You flunked out of day report twice,” Bloom said, referring to a court-ordered treatment program. “Do you think it’s fair for you to stand up here and blame drugs?”
In addition to the murder sentence, Bloom also sentenced Shafer to the maximum for conspiracy to commit robbery (one to five years), two counts of nighttime burglary by breaking and entering (one to 15 years each), and grand larceny (one to 10 years). Those sentences will run after Shafer’s sentence for murder.
Sue White, Lynch’s stepsister, asked Bloom to “throw the book at” Shafer and “throw away the key.”
Shafer apologized to Lynch’s family, but Lynch’s cousin, Judy Clary, told him, “No apology will ever be accepted by the family.”
After Friday’s hearing, Shafer’s mother tried again.
“I’m sorry for your loss” Rose Shafer Wendling said, looking at Lynch’s family and friends. “I’m sorry for everything.”
Reach Kate White at firstname.lastname@example.org, 304-348-1723 or @KateLWhite on Twitter.