Sunday, July 8, 2007

Former Manhattan Beach cop gets prison in sex case

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Shawn Shelton is sentenced to 35 years to life in an assault on a teenaged boy in Las Vegas. He is also under suspicion in a Louisiana death.

A former Manhattan Beach police sergeant who was once the fastest-rising officer in his department was sentenced Tuesday to 35 years to life in prison for kidnapping and sexually assaulting a 14-year-old boy in Las Vegas.

Shawn Michael Shelton, 40, is also under suspicion in Louisiana in the death of a 19-year-old man.

"The fact he had good family and friends and commendations - he had no business going bad," said Clark County Deputy District Attorney Mary Kay Holthus, who prosecuted the Las Vegas case. "He made promises to protect these kids. He goes from protector to predator, and no one knows why."

Shelton did not address Judge Michelle Leavitt during his sentencing hearing in Clark County District Court.

He did, however, mouth an obscenity as a prosecutor spoke during the proceeding, court information officer Michael Sommermeyer said.

"He started glowering, and he was shaking his head," Sommermeyer said. "He was pretty defiant all the way throughout."

Jurors convicted Shelton in April of first-degree kidnapping, sexual assault with a minor under 16 years old, battery with intent to commit sexual assault with a minor under 16 years old, and use of a minor in pornography.

Police arrested Shelton on May 26, 2006, five days after the crime.

Driving a black Hummer, Shelton pulled up to the boy at a bus bench, displayed a police badge and said he was investigating a homicide. He handcuffed the boy, drove him into the desert, and forced him to perform oral sex in the back seat.

Although Shelton was an experienced investigator, he left behind DNA evidence that resulted in his conviction.

During the sentencing proceeding, the now 15-year-old victim addressed the judge, describing how he no longer trusts anyone, including police officers. He said he shies away when he sees anyone of authority, Sommermeyer said.

"I go out and skate. I can't skate normally because I am worried that he might do something," the boy told the court. "I can't be like a normal kid."

In an effort to reduce Shelton's sentence, defense attorney Carmine Colucci suggested that Shelton's decade in law enforcement showed him to be a good man.

But prosecutors argued that his police background made his crime worse, especially because he used a badge to lure the teenager into his car.

"He's more dangerous because of his history," Holthus said in an interview.

During the hearing, prosecutors displayed graphic images found in Shelton's camera of young men, including one who appeared unconscious and another blindfolded, indicating that the assault on the boy was not likely an isolated case.

The judge's sentence - the maximum allowed - might be the prelude to more court proceedings. Among those in attendance were Lynn and Lisa James, whose son Justin was found dead in Natchitoches, La., in October 2005.

Grand juries in Natchitoches Parish reportedly have convened to take evidence in that case. Justin James died after he was found unconscious in Shelton's apartment. Coroner's officials ruled his death a homicide, saying he died of an overdose of cocaine, Xanax and morphine - drugs James never used.

James had gone to an apartment complex to hang out with friends.

The friends lived upstairs from Shelton, who was hired to work on a movie shoot in Natchitoches.

Shelton invited James downstairs to look at his Hummer, and was the last person with James before his death.

Police and prosecutors are building a case on Shelton.

"Shawn is the one!" Mrs. James told the Daily Breeze. "He killed my son!"

Shelton, who is gay, resigned from the Manhattan Beach police force in 2003 after he made allegations that former Chief Ernest Klevesahl and other officers tormented him with anti-gay slurs and remarks.

Department officials denied the allegations. Besides the conflict with his department, Shelton later was arrested in Long Beach on prescription drug forgery and for trespassing on a Moorpark ranch with an 18-year-old man who was under the influence.

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

They indicted him today 8-15 in Louisiana for Murder.