Family, friends upset with Seiner verdict — (Greene County Daily World)

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Greene County Daily World Local News

By Nick Schneider, ASSISTANT EDITOR

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Teresa McBride clutched tightly to a small colored photograph of her best friend Jana Moore throughout most of Friday’s murder sentencing hearing for Shawn Michael Seiner.

Tears welled up in her eyes as she talked about the loss of her friend of more than three decades and senseless murder committed last August by Seiner.

McBride said she was disappointed with the verdict saying 69 years was simply not justice for the death of a woman who had been her close friend since both were 13 years old.

“She was the kindest and best friend anyone could ever have. We were together nearly every night. I still can’t believe she is gone,” McBride said.

After the sentence was announced, McBride said she appreciated the work of prosecutor Jarrod Holtsclaw, but felt a void in the number of years that Seiner will actually serve behind bars.

“This is not right,” she said while boarding the elevator. “He can be out when he’s in his 50s.”

When asked what she thought justice would have been in this case, McBride paused and said, “I don’t necessarily think the death penalty is the thing to do. I’m not a big person on the death penalty, but I want the boy to get what he deserves. I want him put away for a long time.”

She continued, “Jana didn’t do anything to deserve what she got.”

Barb Jeffrey of rural Worthington, a family friend, was more vocal and direct in her response when she said, “I really think I could be the one to pull the switch on him.”

Jana Moore’s 23-year-old son, Levi, addressed the court on behalf of the family.

He said his mother was a very good person.

“My mother cared about everyone she ever met,” he said.

Levi Moore said he felt Seiner should have left the residence when he couldn’t find him or his two brothers when the he got to the home on Aug. 11, 2006.

“I feel like he should have just left. She didn’t even know who he was.”

He broke down when he called her a good mother.

“No matter what we ever did, she was with us through it all,” Levi said.

Prosecutor Jarrod Holtsclaw said he felt the sentence handed down – while it was less than the 97-year term he had recommended – was “well reasoned and fair.”

“It’s a sentencing hearing involving the death of a truly innocent person. They (the friends and family) want what neither I or the judge can give them. They want Jana Moore back,” Holtsclaw said. “Seventy years in prison is a long time.”

He lauded the investigative and cooperative work in the case by the Indiana State Police, the Linton Police Department and the Greene County Sheriff’s Department who worked quickly to make an arrest in the case in just over three hours after the murder was committed.

“They quickly worked together in a professional manner to make an arrest quickly in this case. They did a really good job,” he said after the verdict was announced.

Defense attorney James Reister argued for leniency for Seiner – citing a borderline personality disorder, major depression, and panic attacks as a reason he has been under treatment for the last six years.

He has been under mental health care since a suicide attempt when he was 16 and was prescribed Prozac to battle his prolonged bouts with depression.

Reister also noted that Seiner had no previous criminal convictions. He has been charged with possession of marijuana as a juvenile, but never convicted.

Superior Court J. David Holt was straight forward and blunt in his comments to Seiner prior to the actually sentencing.

He said he didn’t feel that age should be a significant mitigating factor in the sentencing by saying, “I don’t think 21 is the age you should get a get-out-of-jail-free card.”

The veteran judge said that after reading the pre-sentencing report and hearing the evidence presented at the hearing, he questioned Seiner’s true remorse for his crimes.

“Really you are not showing a creditable remorse for what you have done. I know you have said you are sorry, but it’s too little and it’s too late. You are a little too matter-of-fact, disturbingly calm, eerily calm as if a human life meant nothing. I’m not buying the fact that this was just something that happened – something that you can say I am sorry, so forgive me. It’s not that easy.”