EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSFAMILIES REACT
from Eyewitness News Online
Families Of Sniper Victims React To Plea
Reported by: Kallie Cart
Videographer: Brad Rice
Web Producer: Kallie Cart
Reported: Jul. 30, 2012 6:52 PM EDT
Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia
The families of the sniper victims have been searching for answers ever since that fateful summer in 2003. And there are mixed emotions about Shawn Lester's plea.
"I just hope justice is served," Karen Mance, Jeanie Patton's sister says.
Mance and the other family members have been waiting for this day for 9 years, for someone to take responsibility for killing their loved ones and to have some answers.
Monday morning they showed up at the courthouse expecting to finally have their questions answered but the unexpected guilty plea by Shawn Lester to second degree murder in the killing of Patton did not provide the answers they've been searching for.
Mance says she still wants to know why her sister was targeted, instead of her sister's boyfriend, Marty Walker, whom prosecutors say stole the engine block of meth from Lester which was motive for the murder. Mance says she was hoping the lenghty trial would help provide those answers.
There is also little new information about Gary Carrier or Okey Meadows, Jr.'s deaths. But Carrier's brother says he's satisfied and that all of the families were consulted and agreed to the plea before it was accepted by the prosecution.
The Patton's say they're happy Lester is going to prison but they wanted him to take full responsibility and spend the rest of his life in prison because they say they've been living a life sentence since that terrible night outside of a gas station on August 14, 2003.
"It felt kind of good but at the same time she's not coming back and just to know he gave her a life sentence," Mance says.
The families of all three victims will be allowed to speak at Lester's sentencing, even though he didn't plead to Carrier and Meadows' deaths.
Lester could face anywhere from 10 to 40 years for the second degree murder charge, although the prosecution has recommended 30 years.
Lester is also facing 20 years in prison for unrelated federal gun charges which he plead guilty to earlier this year. He also has pending federal drug charges. The federal charges were brought after evidence was uncovered in the course of the sniper investigation.
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