Shemorry's farewell: Hitman-hiring husband gets 9.5 years

news-shemorry-couple-horizontalPatrick S. Shemorry in happier times with estranged wife Starla Knight.

With his weeping mother looking on, former Charlottesville realtor Patrick S. Shemorry was sentenced Wednesday to nine and half years in prison for hiring a hitman to kill his estranged wife.

"This is such a terrible crime," said Judge Norman Moon as he deliberated, adding that "but for the grace of God" a woman would be dead and 28-year-old Shemorry would have been facing life in prison or capital punishment.

That "grace" came in the form of the hired hitman, identified in a defense pre-sentence memo as Shemorry's former friend Michael Allen Terry, who, instead of carrying out the killing, went to authorities with recordings of Shemorry discussing his desire to have his estranged wife killed.

"“It’s a f***ing war, and she’s just a casualty," Shemorry said on an audio recording played in court in September as Shemorry entered the guilty plea. "Kill Starla; she’s f***ing poison.”

The former Boy Scout struck a different tone during today's sentencing hearing, saying that what prosecutors described as his "cold" and "emotionless" demeanor on an FBI videotape as he receives the news of his wife's demise was actually a front.

"I did hide my feelings from Michael Terry," Shemorry said in a quiet, shaking voice minutes before he was sentenced. His apparent calm on the video, masked "soul-wrenching dread" and "self-loathing," he said.

"I would have been unable to continue walking this earth with blood on my hands," said Shemorry, who turned to apologize to his mother, Danette Shemorry of Pasco, Washington, seated two rows behind him in the courtroom. "I will spend the rest of my life attempting to atone for all I've done."

Earlier in the hearing, Danette Shemory wept on the stand as she recalled teaching a younger Patrick and her other three children "to know right and wrong." Watching his anguished mother testify, the bearded and bespectacled prisoner wearing the gray and black striped suit of the Central Virginia Regional Jail, where he's been held since his June 23 arrest, covered his mouth with a hand.

Assistant U.S. attorney Nancy Healey asked Judge Moon to issue a 10-year sentence, the maximum suggested in the plea agreement, and she disputed the pre-sentence memo that painted Terry–- who the Hook has been unable to reach–- as the instigator.

"That is at odds with the excerpts played in court," said Healey, noting that Shemorry had not implicated Terry when arrested.

Healey also criticized the memo for naming Terry. (In it, Terry's described as a conman using his cousin's identity and who is currently incarcerated at the Albemarle Charlottesville Regional Jail and facing trial next year in Charlottesville Circuit Court on more than a dozen felony charges relating to the alleged identity theft.)

Defense attorney Andrea Harris defended the memo as a tool for "better understanding" and cited letters not only from Shemorry's family but from the intended victim's family–- even from Knight herself–- "universal in that they all express shock," said Harris, asking Moon to consider a nine-year sentence given Shemorry's record, clean but for two misdemeanor use-of-drug convictions. This crime, Harris said, "is not a reflection of who he really is."

Shemorry will serve his sentence at the medium security federal penitentiary in Sheridan, Oregon, closer to his Washington-state-based family, and will have three years probation following his release.


Help me out with the use of "whom" in the following:

"Assistant U.S. attorney Nancy Healey asked Judge Moon to issue a 10-year sentence, the maximum suggested in the plea agreement, and she disputed the pre-sentence memo that painted Terry� whom the Hook has been unable to reach� as the instigator."

Whom did you get this usage from? Whom ever thought that "whom" would appear as the subject of a parenthetical phrase? To be fair, this usage is popping up everywhere, but then so are pants belted around the knees of young men. Both are goofy.

Damn you are better off stabbing some poor guy in the back on the corner 17 times. You only get half the time this joker got.

Wow, Lloyd. Amazingly, you were able to strain out the grammatical "gnat",while gulping down the "camel" of content.

Alston drunk little prepster with a chip on his shoulder. Wish I had a few moments alone with him he can have a knife if he wants.

I'm curious if the folks outraged about money = justice are (a) revisiting anger from the Andrew Alston case, i.e., outraged because the rich kid got off easy, or (b) venting anger about this Shemorry case, i.e., outraged because guy who contracted to have wife killed got 9.5 years. I think Alston got off outrageously easy. I don't know that I think Shemorry was punished too much.

And if you think Shemorry got punished too much, are you of the Sean school of thought, i.e., "I don't personally know the b*tch in question, but I assume she had it coming, because don't they all"?

Mr/Mrs/Miss really?, the entire criminal justice system has been out of whack for years. Many times it boils down to how much attorney your money can buy. If you're a poor black kid accused of selling drugs on a street corner, easy targets for the cop shoppe and excellent press release value for the buck, you'll get a lot more time than this guy got.

I've seen murderers get 20 to 40 years, while a rapist will get life without parole. Which is worse, getting raped or getting killed? None of it makes any sense most of the time.

The example you mentioned certainly drives home the point about how much money you have and the quality of defense you can have.

"Whom" was correct because it is the object of the phrase, not the subject.

gasbag, on the same day that this sentence was handed down, some kid DID get sentenced in the federal court to 16 years for drugs.

In this case I think the guy got off lightly because he pleaded as opposed to fighting it in court. Of course the stabber on the corner guy did fight it out, had an excellent attorney and a pathetically sympathetic jury.

That is certainly a case of grammatical buffoonery. Thanks for pointing it out. I mean that sincerely, and I've corrected it.

Courteney Stuart

You know, I think that it might be "who," not because "who" is the subject of a parenthetical phrase, which it obviously isn't, but because it introduces a phrase that provides information about a person. A more cumbersome phrasing would have been "- who is a person that the Hook could not reach -". But I don't know the usage guideline when the pronoun both functions as the object of a parenthetical phrase and has an antecedent that is a person.

There is always a story behind the story. Something is missing here. There are many such stories to be told but we never hear about what happened to the person who ends up killing or attempting to kill someone else. What did this woman do to make him want her dead? I am frankly surprised that not more Judges and divorce attorneys end up dead the way they treat people sometimes. There has to be a reason why this man felt so cornered that he saw no other way out than to have his estranged wife killed! That's the real story but we never get to hear about it.
If you find this statement shocking, then ask around and you will find plenty of men destroyed by divorce court and vindictive wives poisoning the minds of their children and keeping them away from their fathers. The injustice of divorce court is enough for many men to lose their minds, some commit suicide, some just run away and others do even worse things like plan a murder.

@ Lloyd Gray: I think HN is right: "The Hook" is the subject of that parenthetical clause (not phrase). "The Hook has been unable to reach [Terry]." The "whom" there is functioning as a pronoun referring to Terry, and Terry is the OBJECT of the sentence "The Hook has been unable to reach Terry."

If you claim that "whom" is functioning as the subject of that clause (and thus should be "who" instead), then pray tell what is the verb that goes with it? "Who has been unable to reach..." Isn't that your tip-off that "whom" is NOT functioning as the subject? Because there's no verb that goes with it.

You know those scales that lady justice holds? I had no idea that the way it REALLY works is you take each side and put all their money on the scale to see which way it tips. Whatta joke.

I know Patrick, he was a neighbor and I like him very much but he made a grave mistake. I do somewhat agree with Sean's point of view, however. Starla is a very free spirited woman. That's all I can say.

I know my grammer stinks so please spare me the abuse!!

quote: "gasbag, on the same day that this sentence was handed down, some kid DID get sentenced in the federal court to 16 years for drugs."

No doubt in my mind. He was an easy target for arrest and probably couldn't afford a good attorney. And it makes the drug cops look like they are actually accomplishing something in the drug war, a war they will NEVER win. Had it been the Alston family all over again, plenty of money to hire an excellent attorney, he probably would have gotten probation.

So long, Jackass

Does it really surprise anyone that it seemed like a perfectly good plan for a trip for a couple of typical C-Ville looney left atheist social liberals to go to New Orleans, do some more drugs, and bring home their new favorite drug dealer?

Why do people like this get married anyway? The gifts? And what's with the Christmas tree?

Sounds to me like the wife liked the company of the drug dealer to her husband. Again, no surprise there.. This is Charlottesville.

Hey Blue state Blues, the following quote was pertinent to another thread but no less significant here.
Regarding the scene Garcia one said
ââ?¬Å?”Šas far as I’m concerned, it’s like I say, drugs are not the problem. Other stuff is the problem. ”