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Gilmer shooting suspect's charge upgraded to capital murder

From Staff Reports
Oct. 10, 2013 at 9:03 a.m.


The charge for the suspect in a fatal shooting in Gilmer last month has been upgraded to capital murder by terror threat.

Jonathan Ray Shepherd, 32, was arrested in connection with the Sept. 26 shooting death of 29-year-old Cheyenne Green during a Gilmer sub-varsity football game.

A motion to reduce bond was withdrawn by the defense today during a hearing.

Shepherd was booked into the Upshur County Jail the night of the shooting on a murder charge under a $1 million bond.

Upshur County District Attorney Billy Byrd enhanced Shepherd's charge Wednesday from murder to capital murder by terror threat or other felony after evidence showed he was attempting to kidnap Green when she was murdered, Byrd said.

"In the course of the investigation, we have learned he was trying to kidnap Cheyenne Green," Byrd said. "It's a big jump from regular murder. It changes sentencing options dramatically."

Under the previous charge, Shepherd was facing 5 years to 99 years in prison with the possibility of parole. He now faces life in prison or the death penalty.

According to a probable cause affidavit for Shepherd's arrest, he met the victim in the parking lot during halftime to give their child to her. A witness told police the couple was arguing about custody of the child.

Sometime after the argument, Shepherd called his wife, Suzanne Bates, and told her he had done "something bad and he couldn't take it anymore and that she was dead," according to the affidavit.

Shepherd then told Bates to go to the parking lot, where she would find the victim's car running and his son in the backseat, according to the affidavit. Bates went to the parking lot, where she found the boy in the car and saw Green lying in blood.

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