HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Friday morning, Jacob Shaffer pleaded guilty to a sixth murder in his 2009 crime spree.
Shaffer pleaded guilty to capital murder in he 2009 death of Sidney Dempsey.
Shaffer, 33, stood before Madison County Circuit Judge Karen Hall, who sentenced him to life in prison without parole. Shaffer avoids the death penalty with this plea.
He will still stand trial on April 29 because under Alabama law, capital murder cases must be presented to a jury.
Prosecutors say evidence shows Shaffer used a stun gun on Dempsey when he entered Hall Marble in 2009, then bludgeoned him to death.
“Jacob Shaffer deserves the death penalty,” said Jay Town, the prosecutor. “I hate that Alabama can’t give it to him, but he’ll draw his last breath in a Tennessee state penitentiary.”
After Shaffer murdered Dempsey, he drove to Lincoln County and killed his estranged wife, her family members and a family friend. He agreed to a plea deal in Lincoln County for those five murders and is serving life in prison without parole.
Last fall, Judge Karen Hall ruled statements Shaffer made to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation after the killings in Tennessee were not admissible in the Dempsey case because TBI investigators violated Shaffer’s rights to remain silent and to counsel by continuing to interrogate him after he asked to see an attorney.
According to court filings, investigators asked Shaffer about what happened to Dempsey and he declined to answer, but then when asked again, Shaffer gave a detailed statement about the killings.
Attorneys Ron Smith and Corrie Collins are representing Shaffer.
Read more background on the Shaffer case on WHNT.com.