Guilty Verdict Returned In Capital Murder Trial - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

04/12/07 - Nacogdoches

Guilty Verdict Returned In Capital Murder Trial

by Donna McCollum

Shaina Sepulvado twisted her long, straight hair in typical teenage fashion. But this Cushing teen is far from ordinary. She's now convicted of the October, 2005 capital murder of her step father, James Kelly.

This is district attorney Stephanie Stephens third conviction in the case. She said each one provides some closure for the victim's family. " That will do a lot towards healing the Kelly family to know the person responsible, or one of the people responsible for James' death is having to pay the price for it," said Stephens.

The murder case is unique. A murder for hire case involving Shaina's mother, Marcia Kelly and a teenage friend, Colton Weir. He was willing to pull the trigger. Shaina watched the murder of a sleeping man. Ten thousand dollars and vehicles would be the payment. A fourth co defendant, Dallas Christian awaits a trial.

Always in the courtroom is James Kelly's mother, Francis Bone.  " It's hard hearing the same thing over and over, but that's what happened. So you can't change the facts. So that's it," said Bone as her family prepared to eat pizza while waiting for jury deliberation.

The family calls Shaina an evil person, incapable of remorse. As Shaina is escorted out in leg irons a reporter asks, " Shaina, do you have any remorse?" It appears she begins to shake her head and then suddenly stops. When a clarification of her gesture is asked, she keeps her head up and says nothing.

Shaina grew up in a sad situation according to her grandmother, Cindy Lowery.  She drove down from Houston where she would bring Shaina as a young girl.  Lowery recalled, " She never wanted to go back home. She had a very ruff childhood. She really didn't have a childhood, but it was really hard to witness and then not be able to do anything about it."

Life's circumstances couldn't be considered by jurors. A life sentence without parole is automatic in a capital murder conviction. Shaina's defense attorney, John Heath Jr.  says it shouldn't.  " Local jurors ought to have more flexibility in dealing with sentences of 16 year old people who have been found guilty of capital murder," said Heath soon after hearing the verdict.

Sixteen at the time of the crime. Seventeen at her sentencing. As she left the courtroom Shaina turned around and gave the Kelly family a mysterious smile, similar to the one she provided as she drove off in a patrol car to begin a new life.    

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