MONCTON, N.B. – In a case that captured attention across the East Coast, a young mother has been sentenced to life in prison in the slaying of a Moncton, N.B., teen who had been stabbed about 200 times.
Marissa Shephard, who is in her early 20s, will have no chance of parole for 25 years, Judge Zoel Dionne ruled Friday.
She was found guilty last month of first-degree murder and arson in the 2015 death of 18-year-old Baylee Wylie. He had been tied to a chair, beaten and stabbed repeatedly.
Shephard became a fugitive following the murder, and police asked the public to take a closer look at her many photos on social media, saying she had an uncanny knack for changing her appearance.
Some online photos showed her posing with a gun. Others posted by friends and family variously depict Shephard in pouting glamour poses, as a content mother of a young boy, as a haggard suspect and as a wannabe gangster.
Police said Shephard was considered dangerous due to the violent nature of the crime. She was arrested outside a Moncton hotel on March 1, 2016, and has been in custody ever since.
A Court of Queen’s Bench jury only needed about four hours to find Shephard guilty in May. She was the third person convicted in the murder.
Wylie’s body was found in Shephard’s burned-out Moncton townhouse on Dec. 17, 2015. It was found in the middle of the living room floor, with a box spring on top of it, with numerous injuries on his neck, torso, legs and arms.
Defence lawyer Gilles Lemieux said he told the court Friday that “four young lives have been ruined as the result of drugs and that whole lifestyle.”
“It was a bunch of bad choices. It’s just bad all around and never should have happened,” he said in an interview.
Shephard was also sentenced to three years for the arson, minus time served. That sentence is to be served concurrently.
Lemieux said he expects there will be an appeal.
“I’ve suggested to my client that she do that, for sure,” he said.
An appeal would have to be filed within the next 30 days.
Twenty-one-year-old Devin Morningstar was found guilty of the same charges in November 2016 and is serving a life sentence.
Another man, 20-year-old Tyler Noel, pleaded guilty in May 2017 to second-degree murder and arson with disrespect for human life and was also given a life sentence.