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.”

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  • Nicole

    I truly don't feel sorry for Rachel and Sheila because they killed skylar because they didn't want to be friends with her anymore? I feel SO sorry for Mr and Mrs Neese I wish I met skylar

  • Nicole

    I hope they rot In hell also

  • Nicole

    I hope they rot in hell also

  • Me

    She deserves to die. So does the other girl.

  • David

    Why? Everyone asks why these girls committed murder. Read "Hurt" by Chap Clark. We (adults) just don't understand because teenagers today are truly different than they used to be, worlds different. They are hurt and will do anything to belong or silence secrets that could hurt them. I am in no way defending this heinous crime. It's horrific, and Shoaf and Eddy are responsible. However, the tone of comments following many stories over many month is hateful toward the guilty perpetrators of this crime. In hate, Eddy and Shoaf committed murder. Now, we all respond in hate. Justice and hate are not the same. I believe justice demands a life for a life, but hateful ranting is not justice. I'm inclined to believe Shoaf, a messed up teenager, when she says she's sorry. I think the vivid, first-person memory of this terrible murder could indeed produce sincere remorse. Fellow Mountaineers, seek justice, but "do not be overcome by evil."

  • WVU Mom

    That girl doesn't even closely resemble her school photos. Prison has already been taking its toll on her. Geez. Can you imagine what she'll look like after 10 years. For a vain and self serving girl, this will be the ultimate punishment.

  • Wes

    Prayers to the Neese family. This whole situation is just senseless. Its hard to even wrap my mind around.

  • David


    That's why they gave her only 30 years with chance of parole after 10.

    She came from a bad family poor thing.

    They both should be tied to a tree and shot!

  • Jason

    Curious. Are you all really comparing gay marriage and smoking MJ to premeditated cold blooded murder?

  • Harpers Ferry

    When reading an article on WVM nowadays, I already know what the commenters will say. The overwhelming majority of Pro-Lifers (I am Pro Life, BTW) will call for capital punishment (I don't, BTW). Those who complain that our criminal system is broken will then complain when truckloads of laws are drawn up and passed by the Legislature. Those who worry about our younger generations will complain about more funding for education because God forbid we allow our children to compete in today's job market. Those who complain about the current state of WVU football cheered when the "bring back Terry Bowden" banner flew over Mountaineer Field during Nehlen's tenure (and also loathe Rich Rod and Stew, the only other 2 coaches who ever consistently won). UNITED WE STAND!!!!!

  • 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.