Cops and Courts

Parole board denies release for Skylar Neese killer

Just two days after the 12-year anniversary of their only daughter’s murder, emotions ran high Monday as Dave and Mary Neese joined a conference call with the West Virginia State Parole Board, which would subsequently deny parole for one of their daughter’s killers. 

Before the parole board was Rachel Shoaf, now 28.  

Shoaf, along with Sheila Eddy, were convicted of the 2012 stabbing death of Skylar Neese. All three were 16-year-old high school students at the time.  

In her statements to the board, Shoaf said she and Eddy were involved in a romantic relationship and believed Skylar was going to “out” them. 

“There were threats made to expose our relationship and we were scared of that, so I think we were terrified of what would happen if it came out that we were together,” Shoaf told the board in Lakin Correctional Center, a women’s prison in Mason County. 

“I think a lot of what we did was motivated by fear,” she said. “The things that matter to you as a teenager, as an adult seem ridiculous.” 

However, Shoaf said she could not use her age as an excuse, “because I knew right from wrong.” 

When asked how she felt the crime affected the victim’s family she said, “I mean, it ruined their lives … there are no words to describe how sorry I am.” 

The Neese family did not buy her “crocodile tears,” believing her apology to be a performance from a once aspiring actress. 

“Every inmate I know is remorseful,” Dave said. “I’ve never met an inmate convicted of a crime that wasn’t remorseful. 

“Rachel Shoaf is nothing but a liar. She’s a cold-blooded, calculated killer who almost got away with murder.” 

Months after murdering Skylar, Shoaf broke her silence about what she and Eddy had done and agreed to take investigators to Skylar’s body and testify against Eddy. In exchange, she received a lesser second-degree murder conviction and was sentenced to 30 years in prison with a chance for parole after 10 years.  

Monday’s hearing was the second time she was denied parole. 

“She is the one who showed us where Skylar was, but she was also the one that put her there. So, she deserves to be where she is,” Dave said. “She is a rat that got a deal – that’s all. She is just as guilty as Eddy is.” 

Shoaf pled her case to the board, saying since she has been incarcerated, she has finished high school and received her diploma, has obtained a bachelor’s degree in communications and completed the culinary arts and cosmetology programs at Lakin. 

Dave could be seen visibly shaking with anger as Shoaf listed her accomplishments to the board. 

“She has ruined so many lives and the one that matters the most is Skylar’s,” he said. “Skylar doesn’t have a chance to graduate, she doesn’t have a chance to get married, she doesn’t have a chance for college, nothing like that.” 

In his statement to the board, Dave said that Shoaf had every opportunity to not commit this crime, has destroyed many lives and “took a bright future from Skylar who would have had so many exciting and inspiring choices. She slaughtered someone she called a friend – can you imagine what she would do to her enemies?” 

Skylar’s mother Mary also briefly addressed the board. 

“Evil should not be set free in the world,” Mary said. “I listened to her say she has changed, she’s matured. I’m sorry I can’t believe that. You can’t commit a crime like that and then just mature.” 

“She is evil to the core,” Dave agreed. 

Shoaf will be eligible for another chance at parole in June 2025 and each year after until her current release date of April 30, 2028. 

Eddy will be eligible to go before the parole board starting in May 2028. Eddy was given a life sentence with chance for parole. 

“I’m gonna put faith in the system and hope the system works,” Dave said. 

Following the board’s announcement parole was denied, Dave said he had mixed feelings. 

“I feel happy that the board saw through her lies, but I also am so, so mad. Every time I hear her voice, it just goes through me. To stand there and say that you deserve to be free, that you’ve completed a cosmetology class – big deal. What classes did Skylar get to complete? 

“Dangerous animals belong in cages, and she is a dangerous animal,” he said. “She has no soul – you can’t have a soul to do what she did.”