Rachel Shoaf told authorities that she and a juvenile friend planned Skylar Neese's murder, according to a court transcript from Shoaf's plea hearing on May 1.
Shoaf said she and the other juvenile picked up Neese, 16, after midnight on July 6 in the other juvenile's car. Monongalia County Prosecutor Marcia Ashdown said the girls drove to Pennsylvania and got out of the car and were socializing. At a planned and agreed upon time, Shoaf and the juvenile attacked and stabbed Skylar to death, said Ashdown in the transcript.
The two teens thought they could bury Neese and they tried to, but were unable. They covered her with branches, Ashdown said. Judge Russell Clawges asked Shoaf if Ashdown's synopsis was accurate and Shoaf agreed.
Shoaf told investigators where they could find Neese's remains, Ashdown said. Based on the information Shoaf gave to investigators, Skylar's remains were located on January 16 in Wayne Township, Pa. FBI testing confirmed that the remains were Neese. Other witnesses have come forward recently saying that they heard this kind of conversation between Shoaf and her co-conspirator. The witnesses thought the two were joking but later believed it was all too true, according to the transcript. "I think police who were involved in the front lines of that interview and that part of the investigation were stunned at Rachel Shoaf's confession," said Ashdown in the transcript.
Shoaf pleaded guilty to second-degree murder during the May 1 plea hearing. Judge Clawges said he felt that the state could have charged Shoaf with first-degree murder and wanted to make sure the plea agreement was okay with the Neese family. Ashdown said the Neeses felt the agreement was recognition of Shoaf's cooperation in the investigation, which resulted in the discovery of Skylar's remains. Shoaf is facing up to 40 years in prison on the second-degree murder charge.
Judge Clawges ordered Shoaf to undergo a diagnosis and evaluation, according to the transcript. The other juvenile has not been identified.