State: Man convicted in Grand Junction hitman scheme
Grand Junction — A Mesa County man who tried to get his girlfriend to kill his ex-wife, then tried to hire a hitman from behind bars to kill both, is headed to prison.
A Mesa County jury convicted Stuart Shader, 35, Friday on three counts of soliciting to commit first-degree murder and two counts of attempting to commit murder.
Shader’s bizarre case has already been to trial once in April, but jurors deadlocked after 14 hours of deliberation.
Prosecutors say Shader last year tried to convince his then-girlfriend Shawna Nelson to kill his ex-wife, Shona Davis. Shader thought his ex-wife “was trying to ruin him” by taking him to court, authorities said.
An affidavit said Shader wanted Nelson, who practiced witchcraft, to sneak into Davis’ house and put pits of the poisonous belladonna plant into a can of ground coffee.
Shader told Nelson he’d “understand” if she chose to kill herself or go to Mexico afterward, according to the affidavit.
When Nelson went to the authorities instead, and Shader landed in jail, he went to work from behind bars to have both of them killed. Another inmate tipped investigators, so when Shader thought he was hiring an Aryan Brotherhood hitman, he was really dealing with an undercover police officer.
Shader offered $1,500 for each killing, police said.
A juror Friday said the undercover officer’s testimony sealed the conviction.
Shader’s sentencing is set for Sept. 15. He could get up to 24 years in prison on each of the five counts.
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