Murderer Sandy Shaw Seeks Freedom - 8 News NOW

Murderer Sandy Shaw Seeks Freedom

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George Knapp talks with Sandy Shaw. George Knapp talks with Sandy Shaw.

(Jan. 20) -- A Nevada prison inmate who's spent nearly two decades behind bars for her involvement in a sensational murder case says it's time that she be set free.

Sandy Shaw has been in prison since she was 15 years old and is now asking for a second chance. The so-called "show and tell" murder case rocked and shocked the valley back in 1986. Sandy Shaw was sort of the Sandy Murphy of that era, portrayed as a cold, petulant siren, even though she was only 15 years old at the time.

A jury sentenced her to life without parole for her part in murder of a young man. The I-Team talked to Shaw just before she was transferred from North Las Vegas to Carson City, where she awaits a parole hearing later this week.

"There's not a day that passes that I don't regret the entire situation," said Sandy Shaw. For the past 18 years, Shaw has sat behind bars re-living the night that changed her life forever.

"I'm real sorry for what's happened. I never meant for him to die." Back in 1986 the 15-year-old was convicted of killing 21-year-old James Kelly in the case known as the "show and tell" murder.

The prosecution used evidence and sworn testimony from eyewitnesses to show how Shaw and two others, 18-year-old Troy Kell and 17-year-old Bill Merrit, conspired to commit the crime. "She than procured two young men to murder, rob and assassinate the victim in this case and subsequent to the crime ghoulishly took some of her friends and associates out to the scene of the crime and bragged to them about her involvement," said Tom Lean, prosecuting attorney from 1986.

Sandy says the jury "misunderstood" why she chose to go back to the crime scene in the first place. "They used it as like I was bragging or that I took my friends to see a body. Like it was funny to me or something like that and that's not what happened. I went back to the scene of the crime cause I really wasn't sure," Shaw said.

Shaw says she wanted to prove to herself that the murder was real. After deliberating for just a matter of hours, Shaw was found guilty of murder and sentenced to two life sentences without the possibility of parole.

It's a reality she admits she couldn't comprehend at the time because she says she never fired the gun that killed Kelly. "When I actually went to jail, I was under the impression that I'm not going to stay in jail, I didn't commit this murder, I didn't kill anybody."

Now close to two decades later, Sandy along with her attorney Bill Terry will once again ask the Nevada State Pardon's Board for a chance at freedom. "They accept the fact that she's improved herself so much that the only reason to leave her in custody anymore is for the pure punishment factor. But there comes a time that even the punishment factor really serves no purpose and that's Sandy's situation," Terry said.

"I've done everything I can do here, ya know, to make me a better person, to help me to grow, to progress, I've done everything you can do. There's nothing I can do right now. I'm just doing time," Shaw said.

But that's exactly the point that Deputy District Attorney Clark Peterson is hoping to get across to the pardons board. "You need to remember that she hasn't even served 20 years on this. When do you say that essentially enough is enough? In my opinion, justice says that the people of the state of Nevada should have Sandy Shaw in custody for a little bit longer," said Clark Peterson, Clark County District Attorney's office.

The D.A.'s office will oppose Sandy's request for parole at a hearing slated for Friday. However, Dave Hatch, the metro investigator who was assigned to this case back in 1986 has sent this letter to the pardon's board.

"Acknowledging her involvement in this case is exactly as she describes and that this agency has no interest in denying her commutation of sentence."

Shaw says she was offered a plea agreement that would have meant her release years ago but that her court appointed attorney turned it down back then.

Would a 15-year-old be sent to prison if this same crime happened today? It's doubtful. The Director of Nevada's Corrections Dept. says housing kids with adults is bad for both, but back then, there weren't many alternatives. Plus there was a lot of publicity around this case, with calls for firm justice.

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