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Sniper Sentenced To 6 Years For Federal Gun Charges; Audio Tape Released
Reported by: Kallie Cart
Web Producer: Kallie Cart
Reported: Dec. 10, 2012 8:20 PM EST
Updated: Dec. 10, 2012 8:26 PM EST
Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia
The long legal battle involving the Kanawha County sniper is finally over. Shawn Lester was sentenced on federal gun charges on Monday and he received more than the recommended sentence because of new evidence that was introduced, including an audio recording where he's allegedly plotting to rob and kill someone.
"I might have to kill this **** **** you know what i mean? He - if he's got 2,000 of them **** **** pills up there I'm killing him," Lester is allegedly heard saying on the recording.
The recording set his arrest in motion. The audio recording came from an informant who says Lester was plotting to rob and kill a drug dealer in March of 2011. Charleston Police were already building a case against Lester for the 2003 sniper murders and decided to act fast and arrest him after getting the recording.
On the tape the informant is heard saying, "He'd probably know your face though." Lester: "I ain't worried about that. I'll probably end up havin' to kill him."
The tape was introduced in Federal Court on Monday at Lester's sentencing for two gun crimes; being a felon in possession of a firearm and being a known drug user in possession of a firearm. The prosecution introduced the recording and other evidence about alleged frequent use of guns by Lester at his sentencing. The prosecution was pushing for the judge to go beyond the maximum sentence.
Judge Copenhaver sentenced Lester to six year in prison -- two years more than recommended for his possession of the guns. The crime that isn't directly related to the sniper killings but the evidence in the gun case was uncovered during the sniper investigation. The families of the sniper victims were in court on Monday.
"We're glad that he got more time today than expected and he is in jail but he's not paying a fraction of what he deserves," Okey Meadows, Sr. says. His son, Okey Meadows, Jr., was one of the three sniper victims.
The families say they are still searching for justice for their loved ones. Lester pleaded guilty to second degree murder in the death of only one of the sniper victims, Jeanie Patton. He received a 40 year sentence.
The families say they blame how the case was handled in the very beginning.
"We want to know why the FBI, whoever, refused to pursue the real killer early on," Meadows says.
"Someone should be held responsible for negligence in this case," Larry Patton, Jeanie's father, says.
So while this may be the final step for Lester, for the families of the sniper victims, they say this isn't the end for them. The families say they have asked US Attorney Booth Goodwin to conduct an investigation into the FBI and other agencies which they say botched the initial sniper investigation.
Lester will serve his 6 year federal gun sentence after he serves his 40 year sniper sentence.
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