Author Topic: Sara West was 5 years old/Petition  (Read 1698 times)

Sleuth

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Sara West was 5 years old/Petition
« on: June 29, 2009, 09:54:42 PM »
I received this in my email. I am asking Posters and viewers to come together as one voice and write a petition to keep Billy Joe Shafer inmate number A279420 behind bars. I realize that this is in Ohio, but every letter counts towards keeping a brutal beast behind bars. I have already mailed my Petition to; Ohio Parole Board, 1050 Freeway Drive North, Columbus, OH 43229
After reading the horrific unimaginable actions this beast did, get angry enough to please take ten minutes out of your busy day and let the Parole Board know that releasing this animal is not in the best interest of the public. (please include the inmate number).
To give this beast 17 years!!!!! for what he did to 5 year old Sara West, the jury had to have slept through the entire trial and the Judge must have been related to the beast.  :'(

EDITOR'S NOTE: Some material in this story may be too graphic for younger readers. The murder of 5-year-old Sara West was a brutal crime. Please read with caution.

ZANESVILLE - Her goals are simple. One courthouse rally, 10,000 signatures and as many letters as she can convince folks to write.

And before February 2010, 70-year-old Shirley West of Zanesville intends to have everything she needs to keep a "satanic" murderer behind bars.

"From Day One, I decided was going to get a petition going," West said of a possible parole hearing for 28-year-old inmate Billy Joe Shafer, who murdered her 5-year-old granddaughter. "I just want to be ready so when he comes up for a parole hearing, I'm ready for him."

Shafer pleaded guilty to aggravated murder with a gun specification after brutally raping and murdering Sara West on Valentine's Day in 1993. Shafer was 16 years old when he committed the crime.

Sara's father, Kevin West of Roseville, could not be reached for comment. Her mother, Tracy Hickman, and brother, Seth, now live in South Carolina.

"I would like to think there's a lot of people that feel this young man needs to remain incarcerated," said Muskingum County Sheriff Bob Stephenson. "I just feel for the safety of the community, that justice still needs to be served and he needs to remain where he's at."

Stephenson said the murder affected the community and the officers who responded in different ways, but "when it's a child it's even more bothersome."

"It's something you think about day or night - how something like this could happen in our community," he said. "It was a pretty sad situation, it really was."

Sara's brother, Seth - then 3 years old - was at the 2555 Ridge Road residence at the time the crime was committed around midnight, but was unharmed. According to West, Shafer made it known his only regret that evening was that he "didn't have time to do Seth."

"People need to be fighting against people like him," West said. "He's just crazy, we just can't have him out there."

According to the petition West is circulating throughout Ohio, Shafer was a sexual predator who confessed to planning the murder for weeks before it happened. West said the information on the petition came from case documents she read and it was reviewed by the Muskingum County Prosecutor's Office.

While the family does not know the progression of events that happened to Sara, the petition states Sara was raped, shot in the head and disemboweled. She was found with her throat cut twice from ear to ear and "satanic" cuts all over her body.

Shafer drank her blood and sexually abused Sara's body after she died. He cut the 5-year-old open and ran his hands and arms inside of her whole body. In Shafer's own words from his confessions, the murder "was all done with a great feeling of euphoria, liken to a drug high."

"It was the most gruesome murder in history that I can recall," said Chief Eric Lambes of the Zanesville Police Department. "We don't need this type of person out in our community."

Shafer is being held at the Madison County Correction Center in London and is expected to have his first parole hearing in March of 2010, according to the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.

Though Shafer's parole hearing is not scheduled for another 4 1/2 years, West is getting older and she wants to make sure she has "her ducks in a row" while she's still healthy. West already received more than 2,000 signatures in less than a week.

"We want to do everything we can to get rid of Billy Joe Shafer," West said. "We only have this to do for Sara, to save someone else."

The Office of Victims Services through ODRC said anyone in the country, of any age, can sign the petition.

"We're as good as our information," said Administrator Karin Ho of letters and petitions that are seen by the parole board. "It does have an impact, because without that information, there's a missing link."

The petition can be signed at the Zanesville Police Department between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The station is located at 332 South St. Letters opposing Shafer's release can also be written to the Ohio Parole Board at 1050 Freeway Drive North, Columbus, OH 43229, including inmate number A279420. The rally is being planned for a date closer to the hearing.

As for the West family, the memories of that night haunt them still.

"It was so terrible you couldn't even talk to one another about it. And as we found out more, it became harder to comprehend things," West said.

West said Shafer had been the typical boy-next-door, a neighbor of Kevin's who mowed the grass and helped when he could.

The day of the murder, Shafer had come over and went sled-riding with the family, Kevin made them dinner and, later, Shafer offered to baby-sit while Kevin went out for a date with his girlfriend.

"Kevin checked back around 11 p.m., and the kids were in bed and (Shafer) was watching T.V.," West said. When Kevin came back around 12:30 a.m., the house was ransacked and the kids were gone.

"Kevin searched outside, and his girlfriend searched inside," West said. Kevin's girlfriend found one of the upstairs bedrooms covered in blood, but no one was in the house.

As Kevin was searching outside he was yelling for Seth and Sara when he heard a small voice say, "Here I are, Daddy, here I are," said West. It was Seth. Shafer had locked him in a shed. Shafer later confessed he was hiding in the woods waiting to kill Kevin as well. Shafer also threatened to kill the whole West family, according to West, and sent a death threat through the mail after his incarceration.

"There hasn't been a day go by when (Shafer) doesn't appear in the picture. I have a hard time just picking up a knife. I have to remind myself, I'm just peeling potatoes," West said. "It changes your whole outlook on life. You see how easy it is for someone to take advantage of your good nature."

Sara's remains were found later that night in two trash bags in a dump.

Sara's grandfather, Monty West, said now-a-days, reading the newspaper is the hardest thing for him.

"You see little boys and little girls and the things that happen to them and you think (of the family) and what they have lost," Monty said.

"(Kevin) still has hard days," West said of her son. She said it's hard for him on the holidays and Sara's birthday - July 1. She would have been 18-years-old this month and a high school graduate.

"It's hard for him to see other girls that are the age Sara would have been," she said.

To get through a day, the Wests just try and remember the good times.

"She was very smart and she liked to dance," Monty said. "I remember at a wedding one time, she got out on that dance floor and just shook to 'Achy Breaky Heart.'"

West remembers Sara always getting into her make-up drawer so she could look like a princess.

"She would say 'Do I look like a princess?'" West smiled. "She was such a friendly little girl. Such a smart girl. She was getting ready to start kindergarten and we would play 'big yellow bus.' She was looking forward to that."

It's the memories of a lovely little girl and the vicious crime against her that keeps West moving forward to collect more signatures and letters.
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