EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSFAMILIES REACT
from Eyewitness News Online
Mixed Emotions To Sniper Sentence
Reported by: Kallie Cart
Videographer: Bob Aaron, John Tincher
Web Producer: Kallie Cart
Reported: Aug. 31, 2012 6:54 PM EDT
Updated: Aug. 31, 2012 7:03 PM EDT
Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia
Families of the 2003 sniper victims had mixed emotions to the sentencing of Shawn Lester.
After nine years of pushing for justice, they were thankful that he received the maximum sentence of 40 years for his second degree murder plea. In that plea he only admitted to being in the vehicle the night Jeanie Patton was killed and the first degree murder charges for Gary Carrier and Okey Meadows, Jr.'s killings were dropped. Family members say they are disappointed that Lester wasn't held accountable for all three murders. All three victims were killed with the same weapon.
Prosecutor Mark Plants says with so many years passing, the case was circumstantial and says several key witnesses disappeared or even died in a "questionable manner," including one witness whose body was found under a porch in Kentucky. Plants says he doesn't want to speculate but says Lester was part of a dangerous crowd.
Okey Meadows, Sr., whose son, investigators say, may have been a random victim to throw the investigation, blames the initial sniper task force for botching the case and says this case has been a "travesty of injustice." Meadows says families and investigators were initially told Lester had passed a lie detector test but upon further review, he failed it.
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