Fayetteville guilty plea frees docket in Marshall

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A guilty plea Friday in Lincoln County will return the Marshall County Circuit Court schedule to normal for the month of September, according to a spokeswoman in Judge Robert Crigler's office.

One month had been set aside for the death-penalty trial of Jacob Shaffer, 32, starting Sept. 12 in Fayetteville. Jurors were to have come from a Bedford County jury pool. Jury selection was expected to take at least a week.

Shaffer was indicted on five counts of first-degree murder in the stabbing deaths of his estranged wife, her son, her son's friend, her father, and her brother on July 18, 2009.

On Friday, he pleaded guilty, and received five life sentences without a possibility of parole.

Shaffer is also accused of killing a sixth person in Huntsville, an employee at his wife's family's business. That murder charge was put on hold while Madison County, Ala. authorities waited for proceedings to finish in Lincoln County. According to the WHNT-TV Huntsville Web site, the Madison County district attorney now intends to move forward with plans to transport Shaffer to Huntsville to face the other murder charge. Alabama is also a death-penalty state.