CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Recently released transcripts shed a new and disturbing light on the character of the man convicted in the 2003 sniper-style killings.
The recordings, released by Charleston detectives, detail telephone messages and conversations between Shawn Lester, 37, and an informant just weeks before Lester was arrested and charged with the murder of Gary Carrier Jr., Jeanie Patton and Okey Meadows Jr.
Lester repeatedly told the informant he planned to rob and kill a West Side man who had a large cache of prescription pills. He told the informant he'd need handcuffs and a stun gun to carry out the robbery.
"He'll probably know your face though," the informant told Lester.
"I ain't worried about that. I'll probably end up havin' to kill him," Lester responded.
Lester later detailed his plans further.
"Well what I'm gonna do is like go up there with like a thousand dollars, you know what I mean?" Lester said.
"Show it to him?" the informant asked.
"Show it to him and be like. . ."
"Make sure he's got somethin', good idea 'cause if not. . ." the informant interrupted.
"Yeah, 'cause I ain't gonna go up there and do this s--- for no f-----' (inaudible) but I might, I mean literally I might have to kill this mother f----- you know what I mean?
"He - if he's got 2,000 of them mother f-----' pills up there I'm killing him," Lester said.
The recordings were played during Lester's federal sentencing.
Authorities haven't publicly identified the man Lester planned to rob. But Charleston Lt. Steve Cooper, the lead investigator in the sniper case, said the man is alive today because police intervened.
"Due to my familiarity with Mr. Lester, when I heard this recording, I immediately recognized there was a real potential for this to take place," Cooper said.
Officers searched the man's West Side home and found $44,000 worth of prescription pills, including Opana and Roxicodone, Cooper said. Although police haven't identified him because of his cooperation in other cases, he was arrested, prosecuted and convicted.
Cooper, chief of detectives, said the audio showed how dangerous Lester was to the public.
"The audio is disturbing due to the repeated threats that Lester wanted to force this guy to talk and then kill him," Cooper said. "He even plotted that police would think someone else had done it and that we wouldn't detect the crime for several days."
The informant told Lester he'd seen the pills in the man's home and described the bag of pills to Lester.
". . . if he's got a bag like that I'd kill him for it. I'd kill him for that," Lester said.
"See that's why I just want to go over there and you know I-I pull some money out in front of him, let him bring his s--- out and then I'm just gonna get him with the stun gun," Lester said.