Gunman faces kidnapping charges

January 12, 2000|By JULIE E. GREENE

HEDGESVILLE, W.Va. - A Hedgesville man was charged Wednesday with kidnapping his former girlfriend, holding a gun to her head and assaulting her, according to West Virginia State Police.

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Police allege that after being refused service in Ritter's Club on Williamsport Pike at around 2 a.m., John W. Shirley Jr., 49, waited outside for former girlfriend Anna Shaffer, who worked there, and followed her.

When Shaffer, 45, arrived at her home at 114 Ashley Court in Hedgesville, police allege he placed a gun to her head as she got out of her 1985 Plymouth station wagon and forced her back into the car.

Shaffer alleged that he asked her how she felt about dying and told her he didn't have a problem killing her, according to state police.


The pistol's barrel was held at the base of Shaffer's skull and cocked, then the pistol was fired into the car window and Shaffer was told that it could have been her head, police alleged.

Shaffer was pulled from the car and forced into Shirley's 1993 Ford truck, police alleged.

Once she was in the pickup, she was hit in the back of the head with the gun and struck repeatedly with fists, police alleged.

Police alleged Shirley then threatened to kill Shaffer unless she called her new boyfriend, Mark Castle, of 9 Ridge Road in Falling Waters, W.Va., and arranged a meeting.

Shaffer and Shirley had broken up about two months ago and Castle was at the bar when Shirley first arrived, according to police and court records.

Shaffer arranged to meet Castle at Ritter's, but when he arrived, Castle realized he was in danger and sped away in his vehicle with Shirley in pursuit and shooting out the window at Castle's vehicle, police alleged.

State police said none of the bullets hit Castle's vehicle.

Shirley failed to catch Castle, and demanded Shaffer tell him where Castle lived, but she told him she didn't know, police said.

At that point, he drove Shaffer home and told her not to contact police or he'd kill her, police alleged.

Shaffer called 911 around 3:40 a.m. Wednesday, police said. When police arrived, they said, she had a black eye and visible bruises on her head and arm.

Shirley was charged with abduction/kidnapping of a person, brandishing a weapon, malicious assault and battery, domestic assault and battery, and wanton endangerment with a firearm, state police said.

He was being held at Eastern Regional Jail on Wednesday night, police said. He had not yet had a bond hearing.

Trooper 1st Class Carl MaHood, the investigating officer, arrested Shirley at his Hedgesville home later in the morning.

A box of .22-caliber Remington shells was found in Shirley's truck and a .22-caliber revolver was in the driver's side door, police said.

The maximum penalty for a conviction on a kidnapping charge is life in prison, according to records in Berkeley County Magistrate Court.

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