No Verdict In First Day Of Shannon Trial Jury Deliberations
Posted August 30, 2005
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — The jury in the trial of an Army wife accused of planning to kill her husband will reconvene Wednesday after its first day of deliberations with no verdict.
Joan Shannon faces three charges in the death of Army Maj. David Shannon, who was killed in 2002: first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and accessory after-the-fact.
During its first day of deliberation, the jury asked the judge to see transcripts of three witnesses' testimony, as well as some photographic evidence. The judge declined the jury's request to review the testimony, but allowed jurors to see the photographs.
In 2004, the couple's 15-year-old daughter, Elizabeth Shannon, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder; she is currently serving a maximum sentence of 31 years in prison. During her mother's trial, Elizabeth Shannon testified that she was pressured into shooting her stepfather.
Prosecutors believe Joan Shannon tried to poison her husband to collect insurance money and to be with her boyfriend. When that did not work, they say she convinced Elizabeth Shannon to commit the crime.
Defense attorneys, however, argue that Elizabeth Shannon acted alone and that the teenager had been involved with a gang and had a history of violence.
Throughout the trial, which lasted more than two weeks, jurors heard from 17 witnesses, including a soldier who testified that he slept with Joan Shannon and suggested that he was just with her for money to buy a motorcycle.
If convicted, Joan Shannon could go to prison for life.