Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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August 31, 2012

W.Va. man gets 40 years for sniper-style slaying

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A man convicted of one of three sniper-style slayings that rattled the Kanawha Valley in 2003 was sentenced Friday to the maximum 40 years in prison.

Kanawha County Circuit Court Judge Duke Bloom also said Shawn Lester, 37, of Charleston will not get credit for time served since his arrest, media outlets reported.

Lester pleaded guilty on July 30 to second-degree murder in the fatal shooting of Jeanne Patton. In exchange for the plea, first-degree murder charges were dropped in the deaths of Patton, Okey Meadows Jr. and Gary Carrier Jr.

Patton, 31, and Meadows, 26, were shot on Aug. 14, 2003, within 90 minutes of each other at convenience stores about 10 miles apart. Meadows had been buying milk at a pay window in Cedar Grove, while Patton was filling her car with gas in Campbells Creek, both southeast of Charleston.

Carrier, 44, had been killed four days earlier while talking on a pay phone outside a Charleston Go-Mart store.

Each was shot in the neck and head with a rifle.

The shootings initially appeared random and came close on the heels of similar sniper-style shootings in the Washington, D.C., area. Prosecutors later said they were drug-related.

Lester was indicted in August 2011, eight years after the fatal shootings.

He said during Friday's sentencing hearing that he "hopes after today everyone can get closure on the case and move on with their lives."

Relatives of the victims asked Bloom before the sentencing to give Lester the maximum sentence.

"It is hard to summarize what Shawn Lester has done to our family in the last nine years," said Karen Mance, Patton's sister. "It hurts every day to know that she's not coming back. Shawn is a monster, who has no remorse."

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