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Shelia EDDY

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 
 
 
Classification: Homicide
Characteristics: Juvenile (16) - Eddy admitted her guilt but offered no explanation for the crime
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: July 6, 2012
Date of arrest: May 1, 2013
Date of birth: 1996
Victim profile: Skylar Neese, 16 (her one-time best friend)
Method of murder: Stabbing with knife
Location: Monongalia County, West Virginia, USA
Status: Pleaded guilty. Sentenced to life in prison on January 24, 2014. She will be eligible for parole after 15 years
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Murder of Skylar Neese

Sixteen-year-old Skylar Neese disappeared from her home in Star City, West Virginia around midnight on July 6, 2012. Neese's remains were found on January 16, 2013 in Wayne Township, Pennsylvania.

On May 1, 2013, teenager Rachel Shoaf pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, telling authorities that she and another teenager, Shelia Eddy, planned and carried out Neese's murder. Neese's disappearance led to new West Virginia legislation that made changes to the Amber Alert missing child alert system.

Disappearance

On July 6, 2012 Neese returned to her family's Star City, West Virginia apartment after working a shift at a fast food restaurant. She disappeared from her home that night. According to her father David Neese, apartment complex surveillance video showed the teenager leaving the apartment by the window around midnight and getting into an unknown sedan. Neese's father said that she did not take her cell phone charger, that her window was left open, and that she planned on coming home.

Investigation

For months police investigated several unproductive leads in Neese's disappearance. Neese was initially considered to be a runaway by law enforcement authorities, and an Amber Alert was not immediately issued in connection with her disappearance. An early tip indicated that Neese had been seen in North Carolina, but the Star City Police Department determined that the individual spotted was not Neese.

Neese's parents posted fliers about their missing daughter in the Monongalia County region. Police determined that the unknown sedan in which Skylar Neese was last seen belonged to one of her friends and interviewed her. The friend (Shelia Eddy) admitted picking up Neese but stated that she had dropped her off an hour later. The Federal Bureau of Investigation joined the search for Skylar Neese on September 10, 2012, and began interviewing Neese's school friends.

A major break in the case was made when Rachael Shoaf admitted plotting with fellow teenager Shelia Eddy to kill her Dave Neese stated that these two girls were among his daughter's best friends, and that they had helped the family look for her by distributing missing person fliers. After her confession, Rachel Shoaf led investigators to Neese's body.

On March 13, 2013, U.S. Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld, II released a press release stating that a body found in Wayne Township, Greene County, Pennsylvania on January 16, 2013 had been scientifically identified as being the remains of Neese. Neese's remains were found less than 30 miles away from her home.

Criminal charges

On May 1, 2013, Rachel Shoaf pleaded guilty to second degree murder. According to the court transcript, Shoaf said that she and Shelia Eddy picked up Neese in Eddy's car. The girls drove to Pennsylvania, got out of the car, and began socializing. At a pre-arranged time, Shoaf and Eddy stabbed Skylar to death on the count of three.

Shoaf later admitted that they killed Skylar because "They didn't want to be friends with her anymore". The teens attempted to bury Neese's body, but were unable to do so and instead covered the body with branches. The court transcript indicates that other students overheard conversations between Shoaf and Eddy about the murder plot, but failed to report it, thinking they were joking.

According to Shoaf's plea agreement, she pleaded guilty to murder in the second degree by "unlawfully, feloniously, willfully, maliciously and intentionally causing the death of Skylar Neese by stabbing her and causing fatal injuries". In the plea agreement, the State of West Virginia will recommend a sentence of twenty years incarceration. Shoaf's family issued a public apology for her actions through their lawyer.

On September 4, 2013, West Virginia prosecutors publicly identified Shelia Eddy as the second alleged perpetrator of the murder of Skylar Neese and announced that she will be tried as an adult. Eddy was indicted by a grand jury on September 6, 2013 with one count of kidnapping, one count of first-degree murder, and one count of conspiracy to commit murder. Shelia Eddy pleaded not guilty to these charges.

The date of the trial was originally set for January 28, 2014, but on January 24 - four days prior to the trial - Shelia Eddy changed her former "Not Guilty" plea and decided to plead "Guilty" to first degree murder with mercy. As a result, Eddy was sentenced to life imprisonment, with parole eligibility after she has served 15 years. Following her guilty plea on May 1, 2013 Rachel Shoaf is currently awaiting sentencing on charges of second degree murder.

Skylar's Law

An Amber Alert was not issued in Neese's disappearance because the circumstances did not meet all four criteria for an alert to be issued: (1) That a child is believed to be abducted; (2) The child is under 18; (3) The child may be in danger of death or serious injury; and (4) There is sufficient information to indicate the Amber Alert would be helpful. A waiting period of 48 hours had to elapse before a teenager could be considered missing.

A West Virginia state legislator from the Neese family home district introduced a bill called Skylar's Law to modify West Virginia's Amber Alert plan to issue immediate public announcements when any child is reported missing and in danger, regardless of whether the child is believed to have been kidnapped. Opinion columns appeared in both West Virginia and national media in support of Skylar's Law, some of which also acknowledged criticism and drawbacks of the legislation.

On March 27, 2013, the West Virginia House of Delegates approved Skylar's Law with a 98-0 vote. On April 12, 2013 the West Virginia State Senate unanimously passed the law, but made minor technical changes to the bill which the House of Delegates voted to accept on the same day. West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin signed the legislation into law in May 2013.

Wikipedia.org

 
 

W.Va. Teen Sentenced to Life in Friend's Killing

ABCnews.go.com

January 24, 2014

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - A West Virginia teenager was sentenced Friday to life in prison with the chance for parole in the slaying of her one-time best friend, who was lured from her home, stabbed to death and her body left in the woods.

Shelia Eddy pleaded guilty to first-degree murder under an agreement with prosecutors in the July 2012 death of 16-year-old Skylar Neese. Eddy's trial was scheduled to start next week in Monongalia County Circuit Court.

After entering her plea, Judge Russell Clawges sentenced Eddy to life with mercy, meaning the 18-year-old Morgantown woman would be eligible for parole after serving 15 years.

Under the agreement, a kidnapping charge and two counts of conspiracy were dropped.

Eddy, wearing glasses and an orange prison suit with her hair pulled into a ponytail, was visibly upset after entering the courtroom and her voice broke when giving short answers to Clawges, who then asked her how she pleaded.

"Guilty," Eddy said, her voice cracking.

Eddy declined to address the court prior to sentencing.

The victim's father, David Neese, told the court that since the day of his daughter's disappearance, "my life and my wife's life have been drastically altered. We're no longer a family. You can look into the eyes of those who were responsible but you can never know what they heard as they were taking her life."

After the hearing, Neese said it was "unacceptable" that Eddy didn't address the court or apologize for her actions.

Prosecutors say Eddy and another friend, Rachel Shoaf, lured Skyler Neese out of her ground-floor bedroom in Star City, drove her to a secluded spot near the unincorporated West Virginia community of Macdale, then stabbed her to death at an agreed-upon moment.

Authorities said the girls covered the body of the University High honors student with branches when they couldn't bury her, and it lay in a wooded area across the Pennsylvania border for months.

The break in the case came in January 2013. Prosecutors say that's when Shoaf finally cracked and told investigators the truth — and where to find the body.

Shoaf pleaded guilty last May to second-degree murder and is awaiting sentencing. Prosecutors have said they plan to recommend a 20-year prison sentence for Shoaf and will oppose any move to have her sentenced as a juvenile. But she could get as many as 40 years under the law.

Prosecutors never divulged a motive. Shoaf told police the girls no longer wanted to be friends with Neese.

Monongalia County Prosecutor Marcia Ashdown said Friday that Eddy and Skylar Neese had been friends since grade school and the pair went to the beach together in the weeks before the slaying. But Eddy and Shoaf began to distance themselves from her out of fear that their own friendship would dissolve.

"If that were to happen, Shelia and Rachel worried that Skylar would divulge their secrets, the kinds of secrets perhaps that girls have, and other things," Ashdown said without being more specific.

The prosecutor said the pair hatched a plan to pick up Skylar Neese by car after she returned home from work the night of July 5, 2012, arming themselves with kitchen knives concealed in their clothes. They also brought a shovel and clean clothes.

Ashdown said Neese's body wasn't buried because Eddy and Shoaf "couldn't dig into the hard earth at that time."

Though Eddy's name was no secret in the community, authorities didn't make it public until September, when they transferred her case from juvenile to adult court.

Clawges ordered Eddy to remain in a juvenile facility until the Department of Corrections finds room for her in one of its facilities. Clawges said she couldn't be transferred to a state regional jail due to overcrowding.

Skylar Neese was initially considered a runaway and no Amber Alert was issued to publicly notify people of her disappearance. Last year, the Legislature tweaked the state's Amber Alert process that had limited it to cases where a child is believed to be abducted. The revised law now requires law enforcement to relay initial reports of any missing child to state police, regardless if the person is a runaway. Amber Alert personnel would then decide whether or not to issue an alert.

 
 

Teen killer Shelia Eddy admits guilt

By Hoppy Kercheval - Wvmetronews.com

January 24, 2014

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Monongalia County teenager Shelia Eddy admitted Friday that she, along with Rachel Shoaf, murdered high school classmate and former best friend Skylar Neese.

Eddy, 18, was scheduled to face trial next week but decided to plead guilty to first-degree murder with mercy. Though the conviction carries a life sentence, she will be eligible for parole after 15 years.

At the hearing, Judge Russell Clawges asked Eddy a series of questions to ensure she understood her plea. Eddy admitted her guilt but offered no explanation for the crime.

Shoaf pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in May and is awaiting sentencing. She was expected to testify against Eddy had the trial come to fruition.

Sylar’s father, Dave, addressed the court prior to sentencing, saying he was “speaking on behalf of my daughter because she can’t be here.”

The tearful Neese said, “We are no longer a family. You can see the faces of the killer, but you can’t see Skylar’s face. You can’t imagine how Mary and I now feel.”

The plea ended one of the most gut-wrenching and confounding murder investigations in West Virginia in years.

An honor student at University High, Neese disappeared July 6, 2012, after sneaking out the bedroom window of her parent’s apartment in Star City to meet up with Eddy and Shoaf. When she did not return home and failed to show up at her job at Wendy’s the next day, authorities presumed Neese had run away. However, her parents immediately suspected foul play.

Authorities claim Eddy and Shoaf drove Neese to Greene County, Pa., about 30 miles west of Morgantown, where they coordinated the fatal stabbing with kitchen knives and tried to bury her body. Instead, they covered Neese’s body with branches in a ditch, where it remained undiscovered until Shoaf led police back to the scene seven months later.

Monongalia County prosecuting attorney Marcia Ashdown told the court, “at an agreed upon signal, a countdown actually, those two girls, Shelia Eddy and Rachel Shoaf, stabbed Skylar to death. They stood over her until her last breath.”

Investigators have struggled to comprehend a motive for Neese’s slaying beyond Shoaf’s statement that she and Eddy “didn’t want to be friends with her anymore.”

Ashdown said Eddy and Shoaf were worried that Neese would “divulge their secrets.” She did not elaborate on what those secrets were, although she implied Eddy and Shoaf may have had a relationship.

“It was a conspiracy to rid themselves of their friend,” Ashdown said.

Eddy’s defense attorney, Michael Benninger, spoke on behalf of Eddy and her family and apologized for the crime.

“Shelia Eddy and her family recognize the Neese family is in a constant state of despair, lonliness and saddness,” Benninger said. “For that, Shelia Eddy and her family are, and will be eternally sorry. … We hope all families … tragically affected can move forward in a more peaceful and hopeful way.”

All three were classmates at University High School and appeared to be best friends. Dave Neese described Eddy as being like another daughter in his home and said Eddy even helped with the search after Skylar was reported missing.

The case became the subject of intense social media interaction among the girls’ classmates, who seemed at times to know more about the case than authorities.

Though state police focused on Skylar’s friends early in the investigation, the Neeses couldn’t fathom how Shoaf and Eddy were involved. Mary Neese even told investigators, “No. You guys, they are having as hard a time with this as we are.”

It wasn’t until Shaof agreed to cooperate that authorities were able to make arrests.

The case led the West Virginia Legislature to pass Skylar’s Law, making it easier for law agencies to rapidly issue Amber Alerts when a child is reported missing.

 
 

'She stayed with us and comforted us...it just shows how evil she can be': Teen sentenced to life for killing girl 'she didn't want to be friends with anymore' tried to cover it up by consoling victim's family

  • Sheila Eddy, 18, admits murdering Skylar Neese in July 2012

  • Eddy and her friend, Rachel Shoaf, stabbed 16-year-old to death and dumped her body in woods

  • Shoaf told police they did it 'because they didn't want to be friends with Skylar anymore'

DailyMail.co.uk

January 24, 2014

A West Virginia teenager was sentenced to life in prison on Friday after murdering her one-time best friend and leaving her body in woodland.

Sheila Eddy pleaded guilty to first-degree murder under a plea agreement that means she will be eligible for parole after 15 years.

Eddy and her friend Rachel Shoaf were accused of luring 16-year-old Skylar Neese out of her house in July 2012, before stabbing her to death and hiding her body in a Pennsylvania wood.

The 18-year-old from Morgantown was sentenced to life with mercy for the murder. Under the plea agreement a kidnapping charge and two counts of conspiracy were dropped.

Shoaf, who pleaded guilty last May to second-degree murder, is awaiting sentencing.

Before she was sentenced, Skylar's father, Dave Neese, addressed the court, saying he was 'speaking on behalf of my daughter because she can’t be here'.

'We are no longer a family. You can see the faces of the killer, but you can’t see Skylar’s face. You can’t imagine how Mary and I now feel,' Mr Neese said, according to WV Metro News.

'The person sitting before you, Skylar's so called friend, took her away from us without any remorse or feelings,'

Prosecutors said the pair plotted to kill their friend, Skylar, but a motive for the brutal murder has never been revealed.

The nearest explanation came from Shoaf, who allegedly told police the girls no longer wanted to be friends with Skylar.

Eddy refused to address the court other than to say guilty. Neese's father later said he found her silence 'unacceptable'.

Her lawyer said it wasn't a signal of any lack of remorse.

Michael Benninger said both Eddy and her family are 'eternally sorry', according to the observer-reporter.

As Eddy entered the courtroom on Friday, wearing an orange prison suit and with her hair pulled into a pony tail, she looked visibly upset.

Her voice broke when she answered 'Guilty' as Judge Russell Clawges asked how she pleaded.

Prosecutors claimed Eddy and Shoaf lured Skylar out of her ground-floor bedroom in Star City and drove her to a secluded spot near the unincorporated West Virginia community of Macdale.

They said the girls then stabbed her to death at an agreed-upon moment.

Authorities said the girls covered the body of the University High honors student with branches when they couldn't bury her, and left it in a wooded area across the Pennsylvania border for months.

The break in the case came in January last year, prosecutors said, when Shoaf finally cracked and told investigators what had happened and where to find the body.

Prosecutors said they planned to recommend a 20-year prison sentence for Shoaf and will oppose any move to have her sentenced as a juvenile. But she could get as many as 40 years under the law.

Speaking at Eddy's sentencing, Skylar's family revealed how their daughter's friend had comforted them and joined in their grief to try and cover her tracks.

Skylar's aunt Carol Michaud said: 'She came and acted as if she knew nothing. She pretended and stayed with us and comforted us and swore she had no idea what was going. To come to this day and admit she did just shows how evil she can be.'

Though Eddy's name was no secret in the community, authorities didn't make it public until September, when they transferred her case from juvenile to adult court.

Skylar was initially considered a runaway and no Amber Alert was issued to publicly notify people of her disappearance.

Last year, the Legislature tweaked the state's Amber Alert process that had limited it to cases where a child is believed to be abducted.

The revised law requires law enforcement to relay initial reports of any missing child to state police, regardless if the person is a runaway. Amber Alert personnel would then decide whether or not to issue an alert.

 
 

Shelia Eddy Pleads 'Not Guilty' to 'BFF' Murder Charge

Insideedition.com

September 17, 2013

She's only 16, fresh-faced, seemingly the essence of innocence. But the crime she's accused of committing is bone chilling.

Shelia Eddy allegedly stabbed to death her best friend—because she no longer wanted to be her 'bff'—'her best friend forever.'

Now, the victim's father has a message for this teen: "Rot in Hell."

Shelia and Sklyar Neese had known each other since they were kids.

"They were inseparable. Every weekend, either Skylar was at her house, or she was at our house," said Skylar's mother.

Sixteen-year-old Skylar was a straight-'A' honor student in Morgantown, West Virginia when she disappeared one night.

Her best friend Shelia helped go door-to-door during the search.

"Shelia would knock on doors and say, have you seen this girl?" said Skylar's mother.

Skylar's father said, "The whole time, we're comforting Sheila as we would a sibling telling her it's gonna be okay, don't worry about it, we're gonna get her home and the whole time she's going 'God I hope so, I miss her so much.'"

Shelia even posted a tweet saying: "Skylar, you'll always be my best friend. I miss you more than you could ever know."

But six months after Skylar's baffling disappearance, another 16-year-old friend, Rachel Shoaf, came forward with a horrific tale.

Rachel told cops that she and Shelia had driven the unsuspecting Skylar to a remote spot and then stabbed Skylar to death because they no longer wanted to be her friend.

Court documents said police were stunned at Rachel Shoaf's confession.

How two girls could allegedly turn on their dear friend over such a trivial matter is something that brings Skylar's mom to tears, "I can't answer that," she said.

Rachel Shoaf pled guilty to murder.

At Shelia's arraignment hearing Tuesday, she was charged as an adult. She pleaded not guilty to murder.

"There are special places in hell for people like the both of them and they're going to get exactly what they deserve—a long time in prison to think about what they've done," remarked Skylar's father.

 
 

Eddy indicted in Skylar Neese murder

By Jeff Jenkins - Wvmetronews.com

September 06, 2013


MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — A Monongalia County grand jury has indicted a Morgantown teenager on kidnapping and murder charges in connection with the death of fellow teenager Skylar Neese.

Shelia Eddy, 17, was named in the two count indictment that was handed up Friday evening. Eddy was transferred to adult status earlier this week.

Earlier this year, Rachel Shoaf, 17, pleaded guilty to second degree murder in Neese’s death. According to court documents, she admitted to stabbing Neese to death the night she disappeared.

Neese, Shoaf and Eddy were all classmates at University High School in Morgantown. They also hung out together. Neese’s father, Dave, has said he thought the two suspects were Skylar’s best friends. Prosecutors have not publicly discussed a possible motive in the slaying.

The prosecution will recommend a 20-year sentence for Shoaf, while the defense will request that she be sentenced as a juvenile, which would likely mean a lighter penalty. Her plea agreement requires her to “offer truthful and forthright testimony in any subsequent proceeding deemed necessary.”

Skylar Neese disappeared July 6, 2012 when, according to Monongalia County Prosecutor Marcia Ashdown, she snuck out of her bedroom window to meet up with Shoaf and Eddy.

Prosecutors believe Shoaf and Eddy drove Neese to Greene County, Pa where they stabbed her to death and tried to bury her body.

Six months passed before Shoaf finally came forward and talked to police about her involvement in Neese’s murder. Her badly decomposed body was found in a ditch about 20 miles west of Morgantown earlier this year.

 

 

 
 
 
 
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