Carroll woman given life term in 2002 death of her husband

January 14, 2004|By Athima Chansanchai | Athima Chansanchai,SUN STAFF

A Carroll County woman convicted of arranging the murder of her husband for nearly $100,000 in life insurance money was sentenced yesterday to life without parole.

Melissa Lynn Baumgardner Shipley, 33, showed no emotion as Carroll County Circuit Judge Luke K. Burns Jr. sentenced her to two life terms - one without possibility of parole - for first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder for the Nov. 15, 2002, shooting death of her husband, Scott Shipley.

Last year, Butchie Stemple Jr. admitted to police that he killed Shipley but said he did it on orders from Melissa Shipley.

In explaining his decision, Burns said, "If Melissa Shipley did not pull the trigger that killed Scott, she certainly set everything in motion."

Burns also sentenced her to 25 years on related forgery and theft charges.

The parents of the slain man cried and embraced friends and family members as the judge read his decision.

Burns noted the impact of Scott Shipley's death on his infant son, Carter, who was born about four months after his father was killed. A custody battle between both sets of grandparents in May resulted in temporary custody being granted to Brenda and Raymond Shipley, Scott Shipley's parents.

Melissa Shipley asked the judge yesterday for a life sentence.

"I face a long time in prison," she told the court. "I'm asking you for a chance to prove to you I can be a better person."

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