Man facing exploitation charge once convicted of murder

Published 7:19 pm Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Man facing exploitation charge once convicted of murder

PASCAGOULA (AP) — A man facing trial in Green County on a child-exploitation charge once served prison time for murder before his conviction was overturned by the Mississippi Supreme Court, records show.

Justin Shaffer was arrested last year by the Hinds County Sheriff’s Department in Byram after authorities said he arranged a meeting over the Internet with someone he thought was a 13-year-old girl.

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The person he allegedly contacted was a volunteer for Perverted Justice, a group that helps catch adults who prey on children.

Authorities said Shaffer’s trial will be in southeast Mississippi’s Greene County because that is where he made contact with the person.

Shaffer served almost 10 years for murder after he was convicted in August 1992 for the slaying of Ocean Springs resident Rachel Marshall

The conviction was overturned by the Supreme Court in April 1998, but Shaffer remained in prison until May 2000, when former District Attorney Keith Miller declined to prosecute him a second time in Marshall’s death. Shaffer also was acquitted in 1991 on charges of raping a 16-year-old girl.

Shaffer was arrested in Marshall’s death in April 1991, shortly after Marshall was found dead in her home. He also was found in violation of his parole for an earlier conviction.

In 1989, Shaffer was convicted of robbing the Broome Feed and Seed store in Ocean Springs. He was sentenced to non-adjudicated probation in that crime.

Although Circuit Judge Kathy King Jackson, who presided over Shaffer’s murder trial, granted Miller’s motion not to prosecute Shaffer a second time, she dismissed murder charges against Shaffer “without prejudice,” leaving the door open for him to be retried for Marshall’s death.

District Attorney Tony Lawrence said he does not have plans to reopen the case.