MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Monongalia County teenager Shelia Eddy admitted Friday that she, along with Rachel Shoaf, murdered high school classmate and former best friend Skylar Neese.

Eddy, 18, was scheduled to face trial next week but decided to plead guilty to first-degree murder with mercy. Though the conviction carries a life sentence, she will be eligible for parole after 15 years.

At the hearing, Judge Russell Clawges asked Eddy a series of questions to ensure she understood her plea. Eddy admitted her guilt but offered no explanation for the crime.

Shoaf pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in May and is awaiting sentencing. She was expected to testify against Eddy had the trial come to fruition.

Sylar’s father, Dave, addressed the court prior to sentencing, saying he was “speaking on behalf of my daughter because she can’t be here.”

The tearful Neese said, “We are no longer a family. You can see the faces of the killer, but you can’t see Skylar’s face. You can’t imagine how Mary and I now feel.”


The plea ended one of the most gut-wrenching and confounding murder investigations in West Virginia in years.

An honor student at University High, Neese disappeared July 6, 2012, after sneaking out the bedroom window of her parent’s apartment in Star City to meet up with Eddy and Shoaf.  When she did not return home and failed to show up at her job at Wendy’s the next day, authorities presumed Neese had run away. However, her parents immediately suspected foul play.

Authorities claim Eddy and Shoaf drove Neese to Greene County, Pa., about 30 miles west of Morgantown, where they coordinated the fatal stabbing with kitchen knives and tried to bury her body. Instead, they covered Neese’s body with branches in a ditch, where it remained undiscovered until Shoaf led police back to the scene seven months later.

Monongalia County prosecuting attorney Marcia Ashdown told the court, “at an agreed upon signal, a countdown actually, those two girls, Shelia Eddy and Rachel Shoaf, stabbed Skylar to death. They stood over her until her last breath.”

Investigators have struggled to comprehend a motive for Neese’s slaying beyond Shoaf’s statement that she and Eddy “didn’t want to be friends with her anymore.”

Ashdown said Eddy and Shoaf were worried that Neese would “divulge their secrets.”  She did not elaborate on what those secrets were, although she implied Eddy and Shoaf may have had a relationship.

“It was a conspiracy to rid themselves of their friend,” Ashdown said.

Eddy’s defense attorney, Michael Benninger, spoke on behalf of Eddy and her family and apologized for the crime.

“Shelia Eddy and her family recognize the Neese family is in a constant state of despair, lonliness and saddness,” Benninger said. “For that, Shelia Eddy and her family are, and will be eternally sorry. … We hope all families … tragically affected can move forward in a more peaceful and hopeful way.”

All three were classmates at University High School and appeared to be best friends. Dave Neese described Eddy as being like another daughter in his home and said Eddy even helped with the search after Skylar was reported missing.

The case became the subject of intense social media interaction among the girls’ classmates, who seemed at times to know more about the case than authorities.

Though state police focused on Skylar’s friends early in the investigation, the Neeses couldn’t fathom how Shoaf and Eddy were involved. Mary Neese even told investigators, “No. You guys, they are having as hard a time with this as we are.”

It wasn’t until Shaof agreed to cooperate that authorities were able to make arrests.

The case led the West Virginia Legislature to pass Skylar’s Law, making it easier for law agencies to rapidly issue Amber Alerts when a child is reported missing.


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Comments

  • Ron "from Morgantown"

    Excellent reporting on the story by WV metro news and local station WAJR AM 1440 in Morgantown WV . The entire hearing was broadcast live on the radio and the WAJR had no less than 4 reporters at the court house . My prayers are with the Neese family who's pain and suffering is something that nobody outside the family can really comprehend . Eddy's callous disregard for life and her ability to carry out such a horrible crime leaves the whole community speechless . How does one acquire such traits ? To plan it and then implement it and then to actually spend time with the Neese family putting up missing posters of the victim in the neighborhood is nothing less than evil . What else can you call it ? To say you don't have a conscious is obvious but I suspect its even more than that . I know its not for me to judge , isn't that what we have been taught ? The manner in which the victim died cannot be understated and will go a long way to ensure Eddy won't get parole in 15 years . My guess is 30 years and 15 for Shoaf . No this community won't forget . A selfish and senseless act carried out by two cowards.

  • Dont sit on your brain

    This young, well whatever she is, deserves to never see the light of day again.

  • Rich

    Prayers for the Neese family.

    • Evan S.

      +1. Very hard to see a family going through that--my heart goes out to Dave, Mary, and the rest of the Neese clan.

      • Tammy Crabtree

        Prayers for the Neese Family...

  • JB

    I hope they give her parole the first day she's eligible and she mysteriously has an 'accident'. It'll save taxpayers money and provide appropriate justice.

  • jay ziehm

    the sad part of this ordeal is that she might be on the street after 15 years. I hope that never happens. let her spend the rest of her life behind bars where she belongs. what is even worse is that she never said she was sorry for her actions to the Neese family or any kind of remorse to the court or Skylars family even after the judge asked if she had anything to say after her hearing. If she did I missed it. God bless Skylay and her family. rest in peace young lady. from upstairs you know justice has been served. may Rachel get the same fate when the time comes if the law permits.

    • Leigha

      @jay ziehm

      I agree. For those thinking she wont be out on her first parole? ha, think again.
      The system is nothing but unpredictable. I have too much vengence in my heart to allow my kids murderer to skate like SE is going to skate. Not even saying sorry or making a statement? She's a smug punk.

  • Paul

    Such a tragic, tragic case. The lives of three young and very bright and beautiful girls are ruined. One gone forever, brutally murdered by the friends she trusted.

    I have been following this since the day Skylar went missing. I will never understand how Rachel and Shelia could be filled with so much evil.

    • Leigha

      Please Paul, just can the "those poor THREE" girls. I cannot STAND when you bleeding hearts try to lump cold blooded murderers with their victim.
      RS and SE will be out before 40. I'd say they got a pretty good deal.

      • VincentC

        Amen!

      • Paul

        Um, where did I say these "three poor girls"??? Those two made their choices and they'll pay the price for it. Now enough, but child killers are at the bottom of the rung in prison. Their stay there will be far from pleasant.

        If reading comprehension wasn't such a problem for you, then you'd see I was saying it's tragic that those choices were made and they ruined this lives. And also forever took away another. Yes, it's tragic.

        Have a nice day.

      • Pat

        Leigha, he didn't say "those poor THREE girls". I think you need to reread his post. It is clear he said "three lives are ruined." The context is clear that two lives were ruined by bad decisions and a third life ruined/lost. Knee jerk reaction much? Reread the post and then apologize to Paul.

  • melissa

    So very sad I don't believe fifteen yrs is nearly enough this not only breaks my heart but scares me to think a child could commit such a horrific crime

  • chasmo

    when will Rachel be sentenced ?

    • Dylan

      She was sentenced to 30 years, here is the link:
      http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/wva-teen-sentenced-30-years-friends-death-22682598

  • chad

    Parole in 15??? Shameful

  • chasmo

    when we think we have heard " it all " ! this is totally beyond comprehension and , as everyone is asking themselves , WHY ???? Maybe we , as a society , need to go back to the " eye for eye " criminal justice....

  • Jerry Garvin

    Seems like the murdered girl knew something on the murderers and they wanted to make sure she didn't reveal it.

    • shawn

      Thats what we'll never know.

    • Harpers Ferry

      What do you mean? Do you really think that Skylar Neese knew that Rachel Shoaf and Sheila Eddy were a little more than friends? No way!

  • shawn

    I just wanted to know more about this case. I'm happy she's getting 1st degree murder but i wanted to know what happened that night.

  • BringinDaHeat

    I hope that she never gets parole for what she's done. She doesn't deserve to have a life after taking someone else's. I don't care that she is a "juvenile." She knew that stabbing someone repeatedly and brutally would kill them and she did it anyway.

  • cutty77

    I don't understand why anyone would do this to someone this age,and its her friend also. Just to say, i don't want to be friends with her anymore. Thats Ok,but then just to kill the other person. Unthinkable

  • wv4evah

    An excellent wrap-up of the climax of this torturous story.

    • Leigha

      It's not excellent, it's a horrendous travesty. The Neese's have to know that their lives now will be consumed with parole hearing after parole hearing? I think it would have been better to go to trial, get it over with, get her convicted of murder and sentenced to something way harsher than this. Something that would only allow for parole after twice as many years as 15.

      • Pat

        Sweet Jesus! You really do have poor reading comprehension. Clearly, the poster was saying the article (you know...the NEWS) was a very good summary of the events leading up to this murderer confessing.