SHAWN GREEN SENTENCED TO LIFE IN PRISON FOR
THE MURDER OF ROBERT WILLHITE
Kevin Hillman, Pulaski County Prosecuting Attorney announces that today in Circuit Court action in Dent County, on a change of venue from Pulaski County, Judge Kelly Parker sentenced Shawn Green of Waynesville to life imprisonment for the Murder of Robert Willhite. The murder occurred at Mr. Willhite’s home on T Highway in the Swedeborg area on July 25, 2014, during a robbery and burglary.
Green pled guilty to Murder in July 2016. In addition to this sentence, Green is currently serving a twenty-year sentence imposed after he was found guilty of numerous charges at a jury trial last August. That case was also prosecuted by the Pulaski County Prosecutor Kevin Hillman.
The evidence in the murder case, after an extensive investigation by the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department, overwhelmingly pointed to Mr. Green as the primary actor in the beating of Mr. Willhite. This evidence included Mr. Green’s own statements that he was there and participated in the robbery of Mr. Willhite. In addition, Mr. Green also confessed that he beat Mr. Willhite to his girlfriend, Jessica Berry and to his close friend Earl Crossland. Both Ms. Berry and Mr. Crossland agreed to cooperate with the State and testify against Mr. Green. In addition to these confessions, the other participant in the burglary and robbery, Tommy York, cooperated with investigators and prosecutors early on, providing numerous leads and assisting in recovering a significant amount of Mr. Willhite’s stolen property. Mr. York’s statements also confirmed that Mr. Green was the one who carried out the beating of Mr. Willhite, consistent with what Mr. Green had told his girlfriend and close friend. Mr. York, Mr. Crossland, and Ms. Berry have all pled guilty to various charges and await sentencing for their roles in the crime.
In addition to Mr. Green’s numerous statements admitting to beating Mr. Willhite, all of the participants confirmed that an initial suspect, Vernon Dale Parker, had nothing to do with the crime. Several witnesses said that this was a story Mr. Green developed in hopes of throwing off investigators. Mr. Parker also cooperated with investigators and provided a valid alibi for that evening that was later confirmed by investigators.
Investigators also found other evidence linking Mr. Green to this murder. This included the fact that the victim’s vehicle was discovered abandoned near Mr. Green’s residence. Mr. Green also sold numerous items of property stolen from Mr. Willhite to several individuals in Pulaski County. One of these, Richard Jensen of Hilltop Motors, confirmed that Green sold unique coins that matched coins stolen from Mr. Willhite a couple of days after the murder. These items were recovered by authorities and Mr. Jensen agreed as part of a plea agreement, to cooperate with the State in the murder investigation. Another suspect, Roby Sapere, confirmed that he had told Mr. Green and Mr. York about Mr. Willhite’s coin collection and that his home would be a good home to burglarize when Mr. Willhite was away. As payment for the information, Mr. Sapere received a small amount of coins from Shawn Green that had been stolen from Mr. Willhite. Mr. Sapere cooperated with the State in the murder case and pled guilty to receiving stolen property. Mr. Green’s sister, Stella Harper, also cooperated with the State in turning over evidence in exchange for the dropping of charges of hindering prosecution against her.
“It is my belief that Mr. Green was the primary actor in this case and I am pleased that he will be in prison for a long, long time where he belongs, so he is not able to victimize anyone else,” said Prosecuting Attorney Kevin Hillman. “I base this belief on the overwhelming evidence that was discovered during the extensive investigation that the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department conducted and the statements of the witnesses, which were verified by the investigators.”
“I want to commend the excellent police work by the Sheriff’s Department that went into solving this crime which resulted in this life sentence. Specifically I want to commend Detectives Christian Butler, Linda Burgess, and Doug Renno who spent numerous hours investigating this case. I also want to recognize the quick thinking and actions of Deputy Eric Dean, Deputy Monty Oullette, Lieutenant Ed Fowler, and all of the other deputies and officers on the morning of July 25th and subsequent days which helped solve this crime and capture Mr. Green and the other suspects. I also want to thank the Berry family who had the courage to come forward and assisted in solving this crime. Finally I want to thank the Willhite family for all of their cooperation and patience as this case progressed.”
This case was prosecuted by Pulaski County Prosecuting Attorney Kevin Hillman.
Please direct all questions to Kevin Hillman, Pulaski County Prosecuting Attorney.