JACKSON — In May, a Wheelersburg man accused of shooting three people last year, was sentenced to life in prison.
In October 2020, three people were shot — two individuals were shot at a residence in Oak Hill, one of those two later died in the hospital, while a third fatal shooting happened in Hamilton Township, all on the same morning.
Lonnie L. Sheets, 58, of Wheelersburg, was found guilty by a jury after a seven-day trial held in the Jackson County Common Pleas Court.
He was convicted on May 11, 2021, of five felony counts — two counts of complicity to aggravated murder with firearm specifications; one count of attempted murder with a firearm specification; one count of felonious assault with a firearm specification, and one count of tampering with evidence.
Sheets had been indicted by the Jackson County Grand Jury in December 2020. His charges stem from events that happened in the early morning hours of October 30, 2020.
Jackson County Sheriff Tedd Frazier and Oak Hill Police Chief David P. Ward held a press conference in front of the sheriff’s office on Friday, October 30, 2020.
Frazier explained that the shooting incidents were believed to be connected and occurred in the early morning hours. He reported that three adults had been shot at two different locations in the Oak Hill area.
The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) and the Village of Oak Hill Police (OHPD) were dispatched to the first location (216 ½ Ohio Avenue) in the southwest side in the Village of Oak Hill, just after 2 a.m. on Oct. 30, 2020. A male and a female were discovered with gunshot wounds on Ohio Avenue.
The male, identified as 51-year-old Paul E. Sheets, of Oak Hill, was originally transported, in stable condition, to Cabell Huntington Hospital in Huntington, W.Va. He was later released.
The female victim, identified as 48-year-old Tabatha Sheets, of Oak Hill, was originally transported to Grant Medical Center in Columbus. Her condition at that time was listed as critical. A few days later, on Nov. 2, 2020, Tabatha passed away in the hospital. According to her obituary, she had a big heart and loved everyone, and she never met a stranger.
While JCSO, OHPD, and the Ohio Bureau of Investigation (BCI) were investigating the Ohio Avenue shooting scene, another call came in of a shooting just after 7 a.m. in Hamilton Township.
Jackson County Coroner Dr. Alice Frazier was called to 1473 Dark Hollow Road outside of Oak Hill. The body of 61-year-old David Yeley was discovered deceased. He had been shot as well. He was taken to the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office for an autopsy.
Sheriff Frazier had released, during the press conference on Oct. 30, 2020, that two persons of interest had been charged. Facing charges were Lonnie, along with his wife, Lisa L. Sheets, 57.
A jury determined that the evidence presented during the trial held May 5-11, 2021, proved that Lonnie was responsible for or played a role in the murders of David, and his sister-in-law, Tabitha; and the attempted murder, felonious assault of his brother, Paul.
Before sentencing, Jackson County Common Pleas Court Judge Christopher J. Regan said a few words.
“Mr. (Lonnie) Sheets you killed your family, you killed your friend,” stated Judge Regan. “The evidence I’ve heard, these were people that only ever tried to help you.”
Judge Regan added, “You did it with prior calculation designed, to what some people may refer to you as a ‘stone-cold killer’ because you executed Tabitha, tried to kill your brother, Paul, and were complicit in the death of your friend, David. I don’t know how this could be any worst.”
On Friday, May 28, 2021, Judge Regan sentenced Lonnie to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Lonnie’s attorney said that his client would be filing an appeal of the court’s decision within 30 days of the sentencing entry.
Lonnie’s wife, Lisa, has also been indicted for her alleged involvement with this incident. Her trial has not been set.