OAKLAND — Closing arguments, followed by jury deliberation, are expected Monday in the Megan Shaffer murder trial at Garrett County Circuit Court.
Shaffer, 21, of Ridgeley, West Virginia, is 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.
Last week, audio recordings of three statements Shaffer gave police while she was in the hospital — after Stevens died — were played in court.
Prior to each interview, conducted on Jan. 4, 5, and 6, 2017, police read Shaffer her rights and she agreed to answer questions without an attorney present.
Shaffer requested the third police interview, which happened roughly 10 minutes after midnight.
Here are some of Shaffer's answers to police questions according to transcriptions of those interviews:
• WHY DID THEY GO TO HIGH ROCK?
Jan. 4, 2017 - MS: "It was ritualistic but I didn't understand the purpose. I was just there for emotional support ... I knew that (burning) some (expletive) was the intention."
Jan. 5, 2017 - MS: "You know I didn't really completely understand what he was doing but I went with him you know for the support aspect."
Jan. 6, 2017 - MS: "... I didn't understand the religious stuff you know that he was doing and I was just there for support ... I didn't know the situation I was getting myself into and if at any point I could have gotten out of it I would have ..."
Court testimony March 16, 2018 - MS: "I was so afraid," Shaffer said. "So I just followed him."
• WHAT DID THEY TAKE WITH THEM ON THE HIKE TO HIGH ROCK?
Jan. 4, 2017 - MS: "My karate stuff ... He had had a few uh books ... some clothes ... He had me carry a kitchen knife ... I guess for like branches or anything that we come across ... (Stevens) carried his cat."
Jan. 5, 2017 - MS: "... he took like candles and then like the cat with us and stuff like that ... I carried like a bag that had like the candles and stuff."
Jan. 6, 2017 - MS: "... we took all that stuff with us you know that I had previously stated ..."
Court testimony March 16, 2018 - Shaffer said Stevens had with him his cat in a pet carrier and a knife he'd taken from his kitchen.
• WHAT DID THEY DO WHEN THEY GOT TO THE SITE?
Jan. 4, 2017 - MS: "We sat our stuff down, we put the candles where he wanted em, he told me to take my clothes off and that's what I did. And then we put our clothes in a bag, I'm pretty sure."
Jan. 5, 2017 - MS: "... he sat like everything up and umm he went I think he like wanted to burn like a few things that were in the bag ... he was like ... more pure if we take our clothes off so so that's what we did ..."
Jan. 6, 2017 - MS: "... (Stevens) tells me to take off my clothes cause it's more pure that way and I obviously didn't think it was going to last very long ..."
Court testimony March 16, 2018 - MS: "He told me ... we needed to be naked."
• WHAT HAPPENED AT THE CLIFF?
Jan. 4, 2017 - MS: "Yeah, we were holding hands ... It was very slippery ... Feet came out from underneath of us and down we went."
Jan. 5, 2017 - MS: "... we were holding hands and we had walked up to like the rocks just to like see if we could see anything and then we slipped and that's when we fell down the cliff."
Jan. 6, 2017 - MS: "... he made me jump off the cliff with him ..."
Court testimony March 16, 2018 - MS: "He says, 'ok we have to jump' ... He's holding my hand so tightly ... I remember feeling weightless."
• WHAT HAPPENED AT THE BOTTOM OF THE CLIFF?
Jan. 4, 2017 - MS: "And then we both landed like on our backs ... I know he lost consciousness at some point in time but not for an extremely long period of time because he came over and helped me up cause I didn't think that I was going to be able to move."
Jan. 5, 2017 - MS: "... he was just like yeah like you got it you know like it was all just motivational like keep going you know ..."
Jan. 6, 2017 - MS: "... He came over to me cause I didn't think I was able to move."
Court testimony March 16, 2018 - MS: "I didn't know what to do myself ... I felt like he was my opportunity to possibly save myself ... We walked for a while."
• WHAT WERE THEIR INJURIES:
Jan. 4, 2017 -MS: "Uh, my lower back, my pelvis region and my left uh subscabulary sorry my shoulder blade ... He thought he had a few broken ribs."
Jan. 5, 2017 - MS: " ... I thought that I had broken my lower back and I knew that I had ruined my shoulder umm and he said that he had umm broken like a few ribs ..."
Jan. 6, 2017 -MS: " ... we were both obviously injured ..."
Court testimony March 16, 2018 - Shaffer said she and Stevens were injured.
• AFTER THE FALL FROM THE CLIFF, WHERE WAS THE KNIFE?
Jan. 4, 2017 -MS: " ... I had the knife and I fell with the knife ..."
Jan. 5, 2017 - MS: "(The knife) stayed in my hand and landed beside me."
Jan. 6, 2017 -MS: "... he pulls me off with him and makes sure that I have the knife ..."
Court testimony March 16, 2018 - MS: "He hands me the knife and he positions it in my right hand ..."
• HOW DID HIS THROAT GET SLASHED?
Jan. 4, 2017 -MS: " ... he slit his throat I want to say twice. One time small and one really deep and then the knife fell first and then he fell ... straight forward."
Jan. 5, 2017 - MS: " ... he slit his throat once and apparently like it wasn't quick enough for him so he did it again harder and then threw the knife down and then he went face first into the stream."
Jan. 6, 2017 -MS: "He's kneeling in the stream and he tells me I have to hold the knife and he pulls on it but I try to yank it back cause you know like I didn't want to do it clearly and then he took me and he pulled it across and pulled it across again and made sure it slit his throat and then I dropped the knife because I saw what had happened ..."
Court testimony March 16, 2018 - MS: (Stevens fell forward on the knife) I pulled back in a reflex (the knife swiped Stevens) I want to say three (times) I dropped the knife and it was in the water." [Shaffer also said she didn't remember giving police the second of three statements.]
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"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
"He told me he wanted to put me on his account." - Megan Shaffer testifies at trial regarding Alexander Stevens adding her as beneficiary to his Edward Jones account.— Teresa McMinn (@teresamcminn1) March 16, 2018
"The dialogue is very foggy for me." - Megan Shaffer testifies at murder trial regarding police reports she gave after Alex Stevens was found dead.— Teresa McMinn (@teresamcminn1) March 16, 2018
"I felt like he was my opportunity to possibly save myself." - Megan Shaffer said at trial on why she continued to follow Alexander Stevens through woods even after he said "We have to jump" from cliff.— Teresa McMinn (@teresamcminn1) March 16, 2018
"He told me I needed to experience pain," Megan Shaffer says of Alex Stevens, during testimony moments ago.— Teresa McMinn (@teresamcminn1) March 16, 2018