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Judges adds six years to sniper's sentence.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A federal judge has added six years to the prison term of convicted sniper Shawn Lester for drugs and weapons violations.

Last month Lester pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm and to possession of those weapons while being a drug user.

He was sentenced to 40 years in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree murder in connection with the 2003 sniper-style deaths of Jeanie Patton, Okey Meadows Jr. and Gary Carrier Jr.

On Monday, United States District Judge  John Copenhaver said Lester had a "propensity for violence."

Copenhaver said, "You are an individual from whom the public should be protected."

U.S. Assistant Prosecutor Grey McVey brought two witnesses -- Sissonville resident Sandra Shaffer and a police informant. Chief of Detectives Steve Cooper requested that the identity of the informant not be used.

That informant provided police with three recordings involving him and Lester. In those conversations Lester talks about needing help with the robbery of a drug dealer, a desire to obtain a stun gun and the possibility of murdering the drug dealer in a West Side apartment.

The informant called Lester a dangerous person he feared. He said he pretended to cooperate with him in the conversations to protect himself and then went to authorities with the recorded calls.

Shaffer said Lester had access to weapons at her home that belonged to her husband, Randy Shaffer Sr., who is now deceased. She told the judge that she saw Lester regularly handle some of the 17 guns kept in safes at the home.

One time, she said, she questioned him about sawing off the barrel of a shotgun.

She said drugs and drug users flowed in and out of that home on a daily basis. Lester lived with her for a while she said, and later lived in trailers she and her husband owned.

Video cameras at the Shaffer home, installed for security and also to spy on Shaffer and his girlfriend, also caught Lester handling a shotgun in September 2007. Those tapes were confiscated by police during an exhaustive search of the Shaffer property in the sniper investigation.

Copenhaver also tacked three years' probation onto Lester's sentence, to be served upon his release from prison.

Lester has been behind bars since April 2011, when he was arrested for those sniper killings.

Contact writer Cheryl Caswell at or 304-348-4832.


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