The long-awaited Shawn Kavanagh trial finally began on Monday in St. Charles County court, with the defense and prosecution presenting their arguments.
The bodies of Tara Fifer and Lexy Vandiver were discovered inside the House. Powell was discovered with numerous stab wounds and airlifted to a hospital for surgery that would save his life.
First-grader Mason Vandiver from Warrior Ridge Elementary School was sent to a hospital in St. Louis right away to treat numerous serious wounds, but he passed away that night.
The attack only left Lexy Vandiver’s 18-month-old daughter unhurt.
Shawn Kavanagh Trial Update: His Charges
After many delays, Kavanagh’s trial began Monday in St. Charles County court. Attorneys are requesting the death penalty. His defense lawyers are arguing that the charge should be reduced.
The trial began with audio recordings of Kavanagh’s Police confessions and testimony from his former wife, Jessica Powell, who was injured during the night of the crimes but survived.
Kavanaugh is charged with three first-degree murders. Although Kavanaugh is responsible for the murders, his defense team contends that he should only be charged with second-degree murder because the fatalities were unplanned.
There won’t be a jury in the trial that will now start on Monday. Last month, Kavanagh decided against using a jury and now requests a “bench trial,” in which the judge will make all decisions.
Tara Lynn Fifer, Lexy, And Mason Vandiver Death Case
Shawn Kavanagh of Bellflower was arrested on February 14, 2014, and charged with killing Tara Lynn Fifer, Lexy Vandiver, and Mason Vandiver. Also, he was charged with seriously wounding Jessica N. Powell at a residence in Warren County, south of Jonesburg.
At the time of the alleged crimes, Kavanagh’s estranged wife, Jessica Powell, was staying at the residence south of Jonesburg with coworker Lexy Vandiver and her two kids. Just before Kavanagh showed up, Tara Fifer, another coworker, visited. At the New Florence Care Center, the three women collaborated on projects.
Powell was the reason Kavanagh went to the House around 7:45 p.m. He allegedly pulled out a knife from his car after being asked to leave and stabbed the House’s residents.
According to the Warren County Sheriff’s Department, Kavanagh contacted 911 at 7:51 pm and said he had just stabbed and killed multiple persons. Kavanagh was covered in blood when deputies arrived, and he reportedly verbally admitted to killing the House’s residents.
Why Was The Trail Delayed?
The trial was repeatedly postponed due to the COVID pandemic.
It was unclear whether a jury pool could be securely gathered at the St. Charles County Court, where the trial was scheduled. But even before that, Kavanagh’s public defenders received multiple postponements due to lawyer turnover, health issues, and other odd circumstances.
Warren County Prosecuting Attorney Kelly King and Associate Attorney General Kevin Zoellner are the attorneys working on the case. The prosecutors have pushed Kavanagh to go on trial for more than six years.
Attorneys from the Missouri Public Defender System’s specialty division that handles cases involving the death penalty are defending Kavanagh.