ST. CHARLES, Mo. (AP) — An eastern Missouri man has been sentenced to life in prison without parole for the stabbing deaths of two women and a 7-year-old boy nine years ago.
Prosecutors in Warren County sought the death penalty for Shawn Kavanagh, 32, but Judge Rebeca Navarro-McKelvey on Tuesday sentenced him to four consecutive life terms. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that the sentence prompted sobs in the courtroom that was filled with famiy and friends from both sides.
Navarro-McKelvey said Kavanagh’s decision to call 911, his confession and evidence of mental disorders led her to the lesser sentence.
“Today I’m going to give you what you don’t deserve,” she told Kavanagh. “I’m going to give you mercy.”
Kavanagh and his then-wife, Jessica Powell, had planned to be together for Valentine’s Day in 2014, but she backed out. Kavanagh tracked her down at the trailer home of Powell’s friend. He stabbed Powell, 22-year-old Tara Lynn Fifer and 29-year-old Lexy Vandiver, along with Vandiver’s 7-year-old son, Mason, and her 18-month-old daughter.
Powell and Vandiver’s daughter survived.