Shaw sentenced to life in prison

“This jury had an obligation to issue the death penalty in this case, and they failed,” said a disheartened and exhausted Peggy Miller, grandmother to a young Tyrone boy who never lived to see his seventh birthday. Miller spoke immediately following the news that the murderer of her grandson would be allowed to live.
Nathan Todd Shaw, 26, formerly of Tyrone, was sentenced to life in prison in Blair County Court Friday, just one day after a jury found him guilty of first degree murder and other related charges. The panel of six men and six women got the sentencing case at just before 4 p.m. and was deadlocked on “life or death” throughout the evening.
The jury foreman twice notified Blair County Judge Daniel Milliron of their “inability to arrive at an agreement.”
The second time, Milliron ruled it a “hung jury.”
Shaw stood trial for fatally stabbing 6-year-old Jared Klein during a rampage in the young boy’s Tyrone home the night of Dec. 26, 2005. Shaw was found guilty of beating the boy repeatedly, choking him and fatally stabbing him, then leaving his lifeless body in the middle of the living room floor, with the murder weapon – a kitchen knife – still embedded four inches deep in his neck. He also attacked Klein’s mother, Christina Muoio, his ex-girlfriend. Shaw punched her several times in the face, breaking her nose and eye sockets. He also choked her, then dragged her upstairs to her bed, bound her by the hands and feet and raped her.
Milliron explained that in the case of a hung jury during first degree murder sentencing, his legal obligation was to issue life without the possibility of parole.
The jury contemplated the case for over five hours, in similar fashion to their Thursday night deliberation that ultimately produced a guilty verdict for murder in the first degree. While deliberation was still going on, lead defense counsel Theodore Krol said, “It’s hard to tell what’s going on in (the jury room). To form a judgment at this point would be speculation.”
Prior to being excused for deliberation Friday afternoon, the jury heard from several witnesses for both sides, including Shaw’s father, mother and grandparents, and Muoio and Miller, Muoio’s mother. These “impact statements” gave the families of the victims and the defendant the opportunity to directly express their feelings on what penalty should be dealt out for the vicious crimes.
“The impact of losing Jared has been unbearable,” said Muoio as she tearfully delivered her statement to the jury. “It’s like your insides die, but your heart still beats.
“My son was my whole world – that world was ripped apart.”
All of Shaw’s family members who testified during sentencing asked that the jury spare his life.
Defense counsel Steven Passarello, who argued the penalty phase on Shaw’s behalf, asked the jury to consider the alternative of life in prison, calling for an end to the killing.
“We as a people are good and civil,” he said. “One boy is already dead – one mother’s son – do we really need two?”
Blair County District Attorney Richard Consiglio reminded the jury that during jury selection, each member “promised” to impose the death penalty should the evidence prove it warranted.
“The defense would have you believe we’re cold and heartless, that we want to kill this man,” he said, referring to Shaw. “They would have you believe that by imposing the death penalty, you would be killing this man. I’ll tell you, I didn’t create this situation, you didn’t do it, he did it,” the DA said, pointing a stern finger at Shaw.
The prosecutors presented two aggravating circumstances which they said required a verdict for death under Pennsylvania state law.
“Murder in the first degree must carry the death penalty if at least one of a list of aggravating circumstances are present,” explained Blair County Deputy District Attorney Douglas Keating. “In this case, the victim being under the age of 12 is an aggravating circumstance. Also, the commission of this murder while perpetrating a felony offense ó this would be the rape which he’s also been found guilty of – is an aggravating circumstance.”
Passarello argued that there were mitigating circumstances that would weigh against the aggravating circumstances presented by the prosecution.
“We’re not asking you to set Mr. Shaw free,” he said to the jury. “We’re not asking you to excuse what he did. We’re just asking you not to kill him.”
Prior to the jury’s announcement, Judge Milliron cautioned the audience, made up primarily of members and friends of both families and representatives of the media, to quell any potential emotional outbursts that might occur.
Following the verdict, those in the courtroom began to quietly exit, exchanging embraces and reassurances. Muoio sat motionless and stunned for several moments, then, as they led Shaw from the courtroom, she could be heard through her tears saying, “He should’ve died. My son didn’t have a choice.”
DA Consiglio said of the “no verdict” at a press conference later Friday evening, “There was obviously a problem. We felt that we presented a case that would certainly warrant a death sentence.
“If anyone deserved to die, this guy deserved to die. He’s pure evil.
“This is not a criticism of the jury,” he added. “They worked very hard all week and we have a lot of respect for them. This is never an easy thing.”
Tyrone Borough Police Chief Joe Beachem said, when asked if he was satisfied that justice had been served, “He was found guilty on all counts, including first degree murder. I think that speaks volumes about whether justice was served.
“Did we get the sentence we wanted? No. We felt good about it, especially after the sickening, disgusting testimony (from Shaw) we were subjected to yesterday. But he’ll never see the light of day again.”
With sentencing to be scheduled in the upcoming months, Muoio and her family have seen an end to the trial of their loved one’s killer; however, as they told The Daily Herald following Friday’s proceedings, they have a lifetime of grief to bear.
“No one could fight for Jared that night but the person who killed him had many people begging for his life today,” Muoio said.
“(Shaw) should be dead. He should be in hell and I hope he rots there.”
“Mom Mom,” as Jared referred to his Grandma Miller, reminded the press of another victim in this tragedy.
“Don’t ever forget, these brutal attacks happened right in front of my granddaughter – she was only two – and she still has nightmares.
“She has to live her life without her big brother but she has to carry with her the memory of his murder.”