Marcia Kelly

As I stated in my last blog, this too is a case in which a mother is accused of recruiting her child and her child's friends to murder her husband.  The difference here is that rather than it taking a year and a half for investigators to charge someone in the murder of the man, this case took a matter of three days.  And, while Marcia did not take the stand in her own defense, she did allow her daughter to get on the stand and refute what her former friends had testified to and stated her mother was innocent of charges and took complete blame.  Thankfully the jury in Marcia's trial did not believe her daughter and judged her accordingly.  

On October 23, 2005 James Kelly was shot dead in his home while he was sleeping in Cushing Texas.  Almost immediately his stepdaughter, Shaina Sepulvado, her boyfriend, Dallas Christian and another friend, Colton Weir were considered suspects.  Shaina was fifteen years old and was living with the twenty-three year old Christian.  It has been said that Shaina was a "wild child" and most of the blame for that seemed to fall on her mother.  Christian apparently was not the first boyfriend that Shaina had been allowed to live with. 

Quickly it seems that Colton Weir began talking.  He claimed that Shaina and her mother, Marcia had orchestrated the murder and that he had been promised things.  My initial research indicated that Colton was to receive one vehicle but subsequent research indicated more than once that he was to receive $10,000 and two vehicles.  He was fifteen years old.

For her part apparently Marcia would admit hearing the teens talk about wanting her husband killed but would maintain that she had not been in on their plan. She also did not admit to trying to prevent their plan either.  Aside from the four (Marcia, Shaina, Dallas and Colton), two others were charged with tampering of evidence as they were in the car with the others when the murder was committed.  

Marcia was the first to go to trial in July of 2006.  She of course denied the charges against her but apparently through her lawyer would collaborate her daughter Shaina's story that James Kelly had molested and beat Shaina and that Marcia had been aware. When Shaina was on the stand she was asked why she never told the police and she answered that James Kelly had threatened her mother's life if she did.  Shaina would claim that it was for these reasons that she had been the one to orchestrate the murder of James Kelly without the knowledge or help of her mother.  The jury convicted Marcia Kelly and she was sentenced to life in prison, without the possibility of parole.

Colton Weir would be the next to stand trial.  While he admitted apparently his role in the case and his confession was read to the jury in his case, his defense attempted to show that not only was Colton considered to be mentally and emotionally "slow," that Shaina and Dallas Christian were the "leaders" so to say.  One friend of the teens testified they heard Shaina say that if the murder went through that it would "all be on Colton."  Colton had been declared competent to stand trial and was tried as an adult.  He was given a sentence of life without parole.  Shaina would later receive the same sentence but they would both have those sentences changed in 2015 after a court had ruled the sentencing too strict as they were juvenile when the crime was committed and they were convicted. They would be re-sentenced to life with parole after serving forty years.

Shaina's defense also attempted to use her mental capacity in her trial.  It was said that she had an IQ of 73 which is considered to be extremely low and considered to be "borderline" as far as mental wellness.  An expert testified that Shaina functioned at the level of a ten year old and was easily manipulated.  They claimed this would be especially easy to do by a parent.  She too was tried as an adult and maintained the molestation allegations at her trial.  The prosecutor called those claims false.  Many felt that her upbringing and life should have been used as a mitigating, or as I call it, an explaining factor but apparently it was not.

Then there was Dallas Christian who is an enigma to me.  I initially learned that in June of 2008  he pleaded guilty of his role in the crime and was sentenced to forty years in prison. By state law he will be required to serve at least half of that sentence before being eligible for parole.  Dallas had driven not just Shaina and Colton, but two others to the home of James Kelly when he was murdered.  First, since he did not go to trial I could not find any real specifics on him or what his defense may or may not have tried to claim. However, in a late search for something else I came across something  that mentioned while Colton Weir was in the middle of his trial that Dallas had been declared incompetent to stand trial and at that time was in a mental facility.  Obviously he was released and hence deemed competent enough to enter the plea but I know nothing more than that.  It was difficult to find out any other information considering searches either brought up things I had seen already and pertaining to the other defendants or the search was difficult with the words Dallas and Christian involved in it.  

I have mentioned a few times that two others were charged and rode in the car that night.  They were Billy Loftin and Gary Batchelor.  They were charged with tampering of evidence but I could find nothing about what, if anything, they received.  Neither are listed in the Texas Department of Corrections.  Marcia and the other three defendants are however.  Marcia of course has no parole or release date.  Colton and Shaina (despite calls to have their sentences reduced again) have a parole eligibility date in October of 2045. Dallas Christian is first eligible for parole in 2025.  

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