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Murray Man Charged In Double Murder Sentenced To Serve 40 Years

Calloway Circuit Court

A western Kentucky man who pleaded guilty to murdering two women and a dog was sentenced to serve 40 years in a state penitentiary during today’s hearing in Calloway Circuit Court.  

Shannon Scott, 53, of Murray, pleaded guilty but mentally ill to charges including: two counts of murder (capital offenses); cruelty to animals 2nd degree, a Class A misdemeanor; unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, a Class A misdemeanor. He received 40 years for each murder charge and 12 months for each of the other two charges, all set to run concurrently for a total of 40 years. 


Special Judge Tim Kaltenbach said Scott is not eligible for probation, shock probation or parole until he has served a minimum of 20 years.

Scott pleaded guilty to murdering 37-year-old Tera Todd and 77-year-old Evelyn Scott on Feb. 7, 2019. On the same evening, according to court documents, he also killed the dog and then hid its body. A medical examiner reported Todd, Scott’s girlfriend at the time, was stabbed multiple times and Evelyn Scott, her elderly aunt, had her throat slit.


Initial reportsindicate officers with the Murray Police Department found one of the women outside a home on Catalina Drive, and the other inside the residence. Officers also reported finding Scott in the bathroom of the home. 


The charge related to unauthorized use of a motor vehicle stemmed from an incident in Jan. 2019 when Scott stole a 2015 Toyota 4Runner from Toyota of Murray. The vehicle was valued at more than $10,000.


Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney James Burkeen read three letters on behalf of Todd’s family; one from Michelle Todd, Tera’s sister, one from Angela Todd, Tera’s stepmother, and one from Tera’s 13-year-old daughter. 


Michelle recalled her sister as “one of the most selfless and God-loving persons you would have ever met.”


“She was so full of smiles all the time, and you took that away,” she wrote in part. “We hope your nightmares are as bad as what some of ours have been in all of this. We can never have Tera back in our lives, so it’s not fair to her or to us that you get to continue yours whether you’re in prison or not. We hope you struggle every day in prison and have to live with and think about what you have done.”


Angela recalled Tera as a “loving, light and happy” person who strived for the American dream, having a family and wanting to be loved. Tera wasn’t just murdered, she wrote, “she was literally tortured as she was being killed. And she asserted Scott, Tera’s killer, “should never be free to cause harm again.”


Tera’s daughter, whose name was not shared, expressed relief that she no longer has to be scared of Scott finding her and hurting her “like you did my mom,” but also grief because when she wants to see her mother, she has to “go to the graveyard.”


Scott’s attorney, Douglas Moore, said Scott declined the opportunity to speak during the hearing. 


Before the final sentencing hearing, the court held a competency hearing during which Dr. Timothy Allen with the Kentucky Correctional Psychiatric Center in LaGrange, Kentucky spoke as an expert regarding Scott’s mental health. He testified to the findings in his most recent evaluations beginning on Feb. 9, 2021. He noted he also evaluated Scott in April or May 2019. 


Allen testified while he diagnosed Scott with three psychiatric diagnoses (borderline intellectual functioning, avoidance personality traits, and opiate use disorder), Scott demonstrated the ability to make rational choices and understands the potential consequences of accepting the plea deal, and therefore recommended Scott competent for sentencing. 


Based on the expert recommendation, Kaltenbach also found Scott competent for final sentencing. 

Rachel’s interest in journalism began early in life, reading newspapers while sitting in the laps of her grandparents. Those interactions ignited a thirst for language and stories, and she recalls getting caught more than once as a young girl hiding under the bed covers with a flashlight and book because she just couldn’t stop reading.
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