MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Inside a Monongalia County courtroom heavy with emotion, 17-year-old Rachel Shoaf apologized to the family of murdered classmate Skylar Neese, claiming “that was not the real me” who helped stab the girl to death in 2012.

Circuit Judge Russell Clawges subsequently sentenced Shoaf to 30 years in prison Wednesday, imposing a harsher penalty than the 20-year sentence prosecutors recommended in a plea bargain. Defense attorneys requested Shoaf be sentenced as a juvenile, but Clawges claimed “that would not be justice.”

“I really wanted 40 years (the maximum sentence), but 30 is good,” said Skylar’s father, Dave Neese, after the hearing.

VIDEO: Dave Neese and prosecutor offer reaction.

Shoaf will be eligible for parole in 10 years. She is currently housed at a juvenile facility and will remain there at least until she turns 18, at which time the court will discuss transferring her to an adult detention center.

The sentencing of Shoaf, who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, followed that of cohort Shelia Eddy, 18, who last month pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole. They admitted to killing 16-year-old Skylar Neese the night of July 6, 2012, by driving their University High classmate to Greene County, Pa., about 30 miles west of Morgantown, where they coordinated the fatal stabbing with kitchen knives and tried to unsuccessfully to bury her body. They subsequently covered Neese with branches in a ditch, where it remained undiscovered until Shoaf led police back to the scene seven months later.

“(Rachel Shoaf) can take her apologies and sit on them. She’s made my life a living hell. The only reason she cooperated was because she was caught.” — Dave Neese, father of murdered 16-year-old Skylar Neese

Shoaf, dressed in a blaze-orange prison jumpsuit and wearing handcuffs and shackles, faced the Neese family as she addressed the court. She fought back tears while apologizing for the brutal crime.

“I’m so sorry. No words can describe the remorse I feel,” Shoaf read from a statement. “That was not the real me. I became scared and caught up in something I did not want to do.”

The apology was no consolation to Dave Neese, who said “She can take her apologies and sit on them,” upon speaking to the judge. “She’s made my life a living hell. The only reason she cooperated was because she was caught.”

Monongalia County Prosecutor Marcia Ashdown revealed more details about the vicious murder. Ashdown read from statements made by Shoaf outlining how she and Eddy had several conversations about killing Skylar and that they picked that specific night to drive her across testate line.

Ashdown said Shoaf estimated they stabbed the girl at least 10 times, and when Skylar’s neck “made weird sounds” they didn’t stop until the sounds ceased. Recounting the confession, Ashdown said Shoaf acknowledged tackling Skylar as she tried to run away.

Police questioned Shoaf and Eddy multiple times following Skylar’s disappearance but didn’t get a break in the case until Nov. 30, 2012, when authorities interviewed the pair once more and this time their stories didn’t match. Not long after, Shoaf agreed to plead guilty to second-degree murder in exchange for her cooperation in the case.

“Her reward is more than sufficient,” Ashdown said of Shoaf’s plea bargain.

Though Shoaf’s sentencing ends the courtroom chapter of the case, Dave Neese insisted there will never be closure.

“One day at a time,” he said. “Every day is a difference scenario. We’ll try to put the pieces back together and keep going.”

bubble graphic


bubble graphic


  • MadMother

    I don't know how the Neese's have stayed so strong so long. I am the mother of 3 girls and I can honestly say if this had been one of my girls, theses two monsters would have already met their maker. These parents have been classy to long. They have the right to be angry, they may never forgive if not so what? I don't know why anyone would even suggest that he forgive and move on. How do you move on when your ONLY child is gone from your life forever and you may never know the true reason why? These two scumbags should have picked their battles a little more wisely. Shame on anyone who suggest how these parent should live their life's.

    • Harpers Ferry

      Probably a strong faith in God, but isn't that a no-no these days?

      • Uncle Unctuous

        No. No it's not.


    Yea sure it's not the real me!!! who does she think she's fooling? she is just sorry about one thing she got caught!!!! this evil cold murder needs to never see freedom. the only way she needs to leave prison is in a coffin!!!
    it's high time states crack down on crimes & that is with severe punishment! not about age or sex if the jails are over crowded then build more hire/more jobs!! hard labor prisons like angola in la where they grow their own food not lay around & lift weights & watch tv!!

    • TUFFY


  • Larry

    Does anyone know if she is also the product of a dysfunctional single parent home?

    • CKIA

      Yes, she is.

      • Larry

        Thanks, I figured as much.

        • Rhyn

          Dysfunction has many faces - including those in 2 parent families that attend religious services. Don't fool yourself.

    • MadMother

      Not sure about this one but, the other one was. This one's mother took her to the beach as a going away trip. She should of held her head under the water and saved the tax payers some money.

    • No Sympathy

      Who cares. We are responsible for our actions no matter what environment we lived as children or teenagers. The fact that they remained silent in the hope of a clean getaway tells me volumes about their character.

      • Larry

        I agree we're all responsible for our own actions, but the way you are raised absolutely plays a huge part in how you behave when you get older. The breakdown of the family unit, and the ever eroding values of people are a huge problem today.

        • Guardian

          You're wanting to portray the "victim" angle for these two cold blooded killers. Hogwash. Everybody's a victim today and society's morals are at an all time low. Correlation? You bet.

          • Larry

            CKIA says she is from a dysfunctional home, who to believe...

          • WVUFAN69


            You are way off. She grew up in a two parent home and went to church and attended a private Catholic school until high school. This case is simply inherent evil at its worst!

          • Larry

            No, I'm not portraying them as "victims" whatsoever, I was just making a broader statement that the the proliferation of children being raised in unstructured, dysfunctional, immoral surroundings is contributing to all this. You can bet this girl wasn't raised in a loving two parent home, where her parents took her to Sunday School on a regular basis.

  • WVAtty

    The Feds could charge these two again. It would not be double jeopardy as they are two separate sovereigns. And, their time would run consecutive to the state time.

    • Harpers Ferry

      Exactly, because who needs state's rights? That 10th Amendment is SO antiquated!!! I'm thinking you are a huge Obama fan, no?

      • WVAtty

        What???? Read my post carefully idiot. I'm not advocating one way or another. I'm just stating what COULD happen, not what should happen. Get over yourself and your political agenda.

        • Harpers Ferry

          I'm pretty sure there has been at least a couple articles detailing the specifics of the defendants' plea agreement, most notably that PA and the Feds will not pursue the case as long as the defendants don't appeal. Stop wasting our time time just so you can make yourself feel smart. Now, run along little boy back to your first year law school classes, they start early!

          • WVAtty

            You have no clue who I am and obviously are a village idiot. I've been practicing law for 14 years and have tried more cases to jury than 80% of the lawyers out there over that period. I make one general comment and you attack me? Just shut up. This conversation is over. You're not worth my time.

  • jay zoom

    not enough time in prison for her or any other murderer.. that's why we need the death penalty. either be shot at sunrise or die in prison for the life you took.

  • wv4evah

    Why no video from the courtroom from this sentencing hearing, the way there was video from the eddy hearing?

    • video

      There is video now but we are speculating it was not streamed live because Rachel is not yet 18 (still a juvenile). Eddy had already turned 18 before her hearing last month.

      • wv4evah

        Thanks very much

  • erinm

    Wow, Rachel looks like she's aged 10 years. I know when Rachel confessed she thought she would get immunity. Does anyone know at what point she realized she was going to prison?

    • WVUFAN69

      I think that is the only reason she submitted to a plea agreement. She thought it was her way out. And I assume yesterday is when she found out she was headed to prison. She is delusional.

  • justin

    What I don't get about these cases is how does Mon county have jurisdiction when the murder happened in Pa.

    • Justin

      Another problem then is the kidnapping. She willingly got into the car. Don't know if anything happened while in the car to make it kidnapping. If not then the only time she was held again the will was in PA when they attacked her.

      • Rhyn

        Taking someone somewhere to kill them is deception and therefore considered kidnapping legally. They lured Skylar to go with them in the car under false pretenses, aka she had no idea they werent just hanging out together and that they were only picking her up to kill her.

      • SMN

        Understood, but the court charged her with it.

    • SMN

      This has been a point of contention since the beginning. However, due to the fact that the girls were residents of WV also the kidnapping and other chargers happened in WV when the murder happened in PA. They could have been charged in both states and federally however, the attorneys worked that out through the plea agreements.

      • Interested

        Shelia's plea specifically in writing statesthat PA and Feds will not pursue charges. Rachel's plea does not state this unless it was re-worked since the original one she signed.

        • Rhyn

          Rachel will also not face further charges pertaining to this crime in any jurisdiction.

  • ffejbboc

    I really feel sorry for everyone involved in this case...the defendents' families, Skylar's family. I feel really bad for Dave Neese, and can't begin to understand what he's going through. But he needs to just put the revenge thing behind him. He says Shoaf made "my life a living hell." Yeah, well, true...but isn't this about Skylar? She is the one who is dead. Dave would be better served to forgive and move on. If you keep carrying that anger and bitterness, it will eat YOU up, not the person the anger is directed at. It will torment you, Dave, not Shoaf or Eddy.

    • Mike

      ffejbboe, You have know idea what the Neese family is going through. You need to keep stupid comments to yourself. "I really feel sorry for all those involved in this case". How do you feel sorry for a cold blooded scum bag like Shoaf? She is nothing but scum. You need to stay out of things you don't understand.

    • janice

      I agree. Matthew West has a song that is perfect for David Neese.

    • Truth

      Easy for you to say.

      • ffejbboc

        Like I said, i can't claim to have any idea what the Nease family is going through. But I would like to think, being put in that position, I could forgive and move on. What's the other option? You make your own life a living hell; nothing but hate & bitterness & anger. The best gift Dave could give himself would be to forgive those girls. They don't deserve it, that's not the point. By forgiving you give yourself permission to move on.

        • LDB

          You never got over or move on from lossing a child.

        • TK

          As someone who has come to know Dave and Mary Neese, is statement wasn't about "revenge." I can assure you, without hesitancy, that it has been about nothing else but Skylar! When you lose a child then you have a right to judge others. Until then, keep your comments to yourself, not on a public forum. They are working diligently to pass a law across the US to help other families. They aren't sitting around concocting revenge on either of those girls. NO ONE has the right to tell anyone how to grieve. Perhaps you should read a book on the subject. There are plenty out there that explain the stages of grief one goes through. Dave and Mary are a truly lovely couple. They deserve better than comments judging them from those who do not know them.

          • SMN

            That book is called the Bible. Not everyone's choice, I know, but it is where the theory is born. It was a suggestion and perception. I believe the Neeses are allowed to be angry as long as they like. However, until we ALL stop judging each other the cycle continues and you (not trying to be mean) are just as guilty. We all would like to see these two girls get the book thrown at them. But this constant bantering is heart breaking. As if the disgrace of the murder was not enough people just keep adding hate upon hate to each other. It literally blows my mind.

        • meez

          Again, same answer as Truth gave.
          Easy for you to say.

          It's obvious you've never experienced a loss that severe, you likely take a different tune too, especially given his comments are right after the trial. Maybe in time, yes, but right now he can say whatever the hell he wants.

          Please don't minimize the suffering the Neese family has gone through.

  • TB

    It is a sorrowful day indeed when the judge has to impose more time than our prosecutor (paid to represent/protect the populace) asked for.

    Jason: Would you not think it is a sad state of affairs when the prosecutor defaults straight to a deal with two underage girls?

    • Hillbilly

      I am surprised Mon County prosecutor didn't try to plea bargain this down to manslaughter or a parking ticket, just for another "notch" conviction in her career belt..

  • Lisa

    Why should she get anything less than life when she took a life??? I cannot wrap my mind around these evil minds....God help us!

    • Jason

      because she made a deal for her testimony, which was needed to convict the other girl.

  • hilljack

    I bet she will serve less time than someone busted for a little weed. The guy that killed my great nephew has already had one parole hearing after just 3 years. Something is wrong with the system when you don't serve hardly anytime at all for murder.

    • SAD

      I hope and pray they both have cell mates as evil, and downright ruthless as they were and take their last breath away!! They don't deserve to take another breath !

      • John of Wayne

        While I'm okay with that, I'd prefer that they be incarcerated with cell mates who will abuse and torture them every 20 minutes for the rest of their miserable lives, and may they live to be 139 years old.

    • Truth

      Byproduct of abortion. Life has been cheapened.

      • Neal

        Absolutely agree and also a byproduct of our permissive society in general, where anything goes as long as it makes you feel good. Within 20.years we'll see most drugs legalized and marriage equality will include polygamy and incest. If that makes you scoff, think about this - 20 years ago things that are happening today would've made us all scoff.

        • No Sympathy

          Wow, I couldn't have said it better. Look back twenty years and see all the things that were illegal, immoral and just down right disgusting. Today, they are embraced by a new generation. I am simply amazed every day what is proposed by society and legislators and legally passed for consumption and action by our society. Nothing shocks me now.

          • Rhyn

            People are more open minded now. Sadly, you obviously are not. There is nothing wrong with being gay, it hurts no one. Incest has the potential to hurt people. And, who cares if consenting adults want to be in polygamous relationships? Seriously asking, what's it to you?

  • william

    Court said 12 years she will get out on parole!

  • chasmo

    Another sad sad sad day for our pitiful court system !!!

    • Truth


  • william

    She will only serve 15 years, then out on parole!

    • Jim G.

      No William if she serves 15 years she will be out of prison but not on parole. If you serve 50% of your time in WV you kill the sentence. Only if she is released before 15 years will she be on parole.