Share This Page

W.Va. teen sentenced to 30 years in friend's death

| Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014, 11:45 a.m.

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — A West Virginia teenager was sentenced Wednesday to 30 years in prison for her role in her friend's death.

Rachel Shoaf, 17, apologized before being sentenced in Monongalia County Circuit Court. She pleaded guilty last May to second-degree murder in the July 2012 death of 16-year-old Skylar Neese.

Media outlets report Judge Russell Clawges ordered Shoaf to serve her sentence in a state prison, denying a defense request to sentence her as a juvenile. She will remain in a juvenile facility until her 18th birthday.

Co-defendant Shelia Eddy, 18, was sentenced Jan. 24 to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 15 years for first-degree murder.

According to court records, Neese was lured from her home, stabbed to death and her body left in the woods. Prosecutors never divulged a motive. Shoaf told police the girls no longer wanted to be friends with Neese.

“I never thought this would actually happen,” Shoaf said in court. “I became caught up in something I didn't want to do. I'm so sorry and I pray each day for everyone involved and I pray each day for forgiveness”.

Wearing an orange prison suit, Shoaf lowered her head and wiped her tears with a tissue as the victim's father, David Neese, and an uncle spoke at the sentencing.

“Rachel Shoaf murdered my daughter in cold blood,” David Neese said in asking the judge to sentence Shoaf to the maximum 40 years. “She can take her apologies and sit on them.”

Eddy and Skylar Neese had been friends since grade school, and the pair went to the beach together in the weeks before the slaying.

During Eddy's sentencing, Monongalia County Prosecutor Marcia Ashdown said Eddy and Shoaf began to distance themselves from Neese out of fear that their own friendship would dissolve. If that were to happen, Eddy and Shoaf worried that Skylar Neese would “divulge their secrets,” Ashdown said without elaborating.

Ashdown 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.

Prosecutors say Shoaf and Eddy lured Skylar 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.

Court records show the girls covered the body of the University High honors student with branches. Ashdown said Neese's body wasn't buried because Eddy and Shoaf couldn't dig into the hard ground at the time. The body lay in a wooded area across the Pennsylvania border, in Wayne Township in Greene County, for months.

The break in the case came in January 2013, when Shoaf told investigators where to find the body.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.