EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSCASE CLOSED
from Eyewitness News Online
Lester Guilty Plea Means Nine Year Long Investigation Is Finally Closed
Reported by: Leslie Rubin
Videographer: Matt Durrett
Web Producer: Leslie Rubin
Reported: Jul. 30, 2012 10:09 PM EDT
Updated: Jul. 30, 2012 10:25 PM EDT
Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia
The Lester guilty plea is not only bringing some sort of closure to the victim's families, but also to the countless investigators who dedicated most of the last decade of their lives to solving the case.
A tenacity by investigators to keep the case moving it what's ultimately led up to Monday's guilty plea, but now a former investigator goes on the record to say he believes Lester could be involved in more local homicides.
"I was confident in saying Shawn Lester was the sniper nine years ago. I'm confident in saying Shawn Lester is probably tied to several other homicides in the Kanawha Valley," says former supervisory deputy U.S. Marshal John Perrine, who is now the Chief of Police in Winfield.
Perrine worked the case in 2003, and just hours into the sniper investigation, he says he knew Lester was a suspect. However, he says his investigation was ignored by federal investigators.
"Where everybody said they were looking for a random shooter, but our investigation revealed that there was a pattern, there was a matrix," he said.
Monday, relief at news of a guilty plea, but he wishes the public and the victim's families had the opportunity to see the full picture into Lester's involvement.
"Frankly, I'd like to have seen it play out in trial. There were a lot of unanswered questions here. I think the people of the valley would have liked to have seen the full case, what was really going on in this case," said Perrine.
"It's been judicated and now we can move forward," said Charleston Police Chief of Detective Lt. Steve Cooper.
Cooper also says he's always believed Lester was the right man. For him, the plea means a case closed, and the man responsible finally taking responsibility
"Exhaustion come to mind, relief comes to mind, and just ready to move forward," he says.
"There is closure technically and emotionally for law enforcement. This has been a difficult case with their being so many victims. It's an emotional case, you get to know the families and you interact with them quite a bit," says Cooper.
"The point is, is there closure to the family. Did the family get the closure? Has justice really been served here? That's the key. I don't really want to comment on whether it was served or not," said Perrine.
Police could not comment if Lester was being investigated for other homicides.
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