Megan Shaffer shook her head and began to cry when a 12-member jury found her guilty of second-degree murder at Garrett County Circuit Court on Monday evening.
Shaffer, 21, of Ridgeley, West Virginia, was charged with second-degree murder, manslaughter and assisting another to commit or attempt to commit suicide in the death of Alexander Stevens, 24, of Frostburg.
Stevens was found, naked, with his throat slashed and at the bottom of a cliff, known as High Rock, dead on Jan. 4 last year within the Savage River State Forest in Garrett County near Pine Swamp Road.
In December, Shaffer entered a not guilty plea to each count.
The jury deliberated for roughly four hours before returning to the courtroom Monday evening.
The Stevens family sat in the front row of the courtroom and held hands while the verdict was read. Afterward, they hugged Maryland State Police Homicide Unit Sgt. Jonathan Martin.
"(Martin) was so kind and comforting throughout the whole proceeding," said Jay Stevens, father of the late Alexander Stevens.
"We don't have joy," Jay Stevens said. "It's so sad."
Janet Stevens, Alex's mother, said her son had "kind of a white knight" personality.
"Alex went out of his way to help others," she said.
Nancy Martens of Frostburg is the grandmother of Alex Stevens.
"I'm feeling wonderful that we've gotten justice," she said.
"But I feel bad for that little girl," Martens said of Shaffer. "Was it worth taking a life, taking Alex from us?"
"I'm glad they found justice for him," said Tristan Stevens, twin sister of Alex.
"A lot of things were said in there ... just to get her off," Tristan Stevens said of Shaffer's testimony that Alexander Stevens had sexually and physically abused her. "(Shaffer) made it up in here just to make him look awful ... Anyone who knew him was disgusted by that."
Alexander Stevens "was a wonderful person," Tristan Stevens said.
Savannah Whetzel of Cumberland said she dated Alexander Stevens a couple of years ago.
"Alex did not have a mean bone in his body," she said.
Siobhan Lewis of Frostburg said she and Alexander Stevens had been friends for more than a decade.
"I'm thankful for the jurors for doing their job," she said. "I feel a sense of peace and calm that justice was served."
Garrett County Circuit Court Judge Raymond Strubin revoked Shaffer’s $100,000 bond. She was remanded to the Garrett County Sheriff’s Department. Sentencing is pending.
Shaffer's father, Robert Shaffer, declined to comment.
Check back at times-news.com for more details on this story.
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From the obituary of Alexander Stevens:
Alexander Arthur Stevens, 24, of Frostburg, passed away Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2017. Born March 23, 1992, in Cumberland, to Jay and Janet (Martens) Stevens. He was preceded in death by his maternal grandfather, Carl Edward Martens and paternal grandparents, Arthur and Kathryn Stevens. He is survived by his parents, Jay and Janet Stevens, Eckhart Mines; a twin sister, Tristan Virginia Stevens, Baltimore; maternal grandmother, Nancy (Baker) Martens, Frostburg; aunts, Julie Forney and husband, John, Millersburg, Pa. and Joanna Schroyer, Grantsville; uncles, Jim Martens and wife, Carolin, Uniontown, Ohio and Jerry Martens and wife, Bonnie, Springfield, Ohio; cousins, Levi and Ben Schroyer, Jonathan Martens, and Samantha, Josh and Clay Martens; special great-aunt and uncle were the late Virginia (Wonn) Stevens and Clarence Buddy Stevens. Alex was a native of the Frostburg area, attended Beall High School and graduated from Mountain Ridge High School. In high school, Alex was active in plays and musicals having a fine baritone voice and was a member of the Concert Choir. He was the Pirate King in the Pirates of Penzance and played Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls. He was in Concert Band, Jazz Orchestra, and Marching Band all four years of high school. He was an accomplished visual artist. Alex participated in football, basketball, cross country and track at Mountain Ridge. He attended Cambridge University summer program for high school students in England. The Farrady Post 24 American Legion selected Alex as one of their representatives to Maryland Boys State. While in high school he enjoyed Boy Scouts and was Senior Patrol Leader achieving the rank of Eagle Scout. He gave the Senior Address at his high school graduation. He studied engineering at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn., and later at Frostburg State University. Alex was a world traveler. Among the countries he visited were Britain, France, Germany, Denmark, The Netherlands, Spain, Ireland, Canada, and South Korea. He loved the outdoors and camping. He appreciated beauty in all things including music, the visual arts, and nature. He loved to stargaze, rock climb and hike. He had a great sense of humor and loved animals. Family and friends will be received at Durst Funeral Home, Frostburg, on Friday Jan. 13, 2017, from 3 to 7 p.m. A funeral service will be held at Frostburg United Methodist Church, on Saturday, Jan, 14, 2017, at 11 a.m. with the Rev. Kyle Durbin officiating. Interment will follow in Eckhart Cemetery. Pallbearers will be Tristan Stevens, Jonathan Martens, Joshua Martens, Clay Martens, Steven Moon, Michael Harden, and Eric Harman. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Frostburg United Methodist Church or the Allegany County Animal Shelter. Words of comfort may be sent to the family following the obituary at www.durstfuneralhome.com.
Jury finds Megan Shaffer guilty of 2ND degree murder. See my full story tonight at https://t.co/wfFWFy0bd4.— Teresa McMinn (@teresamcminn1) March 19, 2018
Heading back into courtroom. No phone allowed. Megan Shaffer’s lawyer is up next. I’ll tweet some of his comments @ next break.— Teresa McMinn (@teresamcminn1) March 19, 2018
Welch at Megan Shaffer murder trial: “There’s no way (Alex Stevens) inflicted all of those injuries by himself.”— Teresa McMinn (@teresamcminn1) March 19, 2018
Welch at Megan Shaffer murder trial: “Even her best version doesn’t match the evidence and she knew that was gonna be a problem.”— Teresa McMinn (@teresamcminn1) March 19, 2018
Welch closing argument at murder trial: Megan Shaffer knew Alex Stevens had been left a lot of money— Teresa McMinn (@teresamcminn1) March 19, 2018
Lisa Thayer Welch gives closing arguments in Megan Shaffer murder trial, tells jury of Shaffer’s “ever changing” statements.— Teresa McMinn (@teresamcminn1) March 19, 2018
"I do not remember giving the statement." Megan Shaffer says of the second of three statements she gave police after Alexander Stevens was found dead.— Teresa McMinn (@teresamcminn1) March 16, 2018
Medical examiner, Dr. Carol Allen, discussed Alexander Stevens autopsy at Megan Shaffer murder trial: "This is not an injury ... Mr. Stevens could inflict on himself." pic.twitter.com/3pz2qMZZQI— Teresa McMinn (@teresamcminn1) March 15, 2018