Andrew Bailey
Missouri Attorney General
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AG’s Office Assists Warren County Prosecutor in Obtaining First Degree Murder Convictions

Home 9 Press Release 9 AG’s Office Assists Warren County Prosecutor in Obtaining First Degree Murder Convictions

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – In an effort to protect Missourians, Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey announced today that his office has assisted in obtaining nine felony convictions against Shawn Kavanagh in connection with multiple murders. Kavanagh was sentenced to life without probation or parole.

“As Attorney General, I want to enforce the laws as written and prosecute Missouri’s most dangerous criminals,” said Attorney General Bailey. “My office is committed to obtaining justice for victims of heinous crimes, and I’m proud of the work we did in partnership with the Warren County Prosecutor in this case to do just that.”

“I respect the judge’s verdict, but I am disappointed. As she stated in the hearing, if any case deserves the death penalty, this is the case. Justice has been too long coming for these victims and their families,” said Kelly King, Warren County Prosecuting Attorney. “I can only hope the families can now put this part of these horrific crimes behind them and move forward with their lives.  I sincerely appreciate the work of our first responders, the assistance of the Attorney General’s Office, and the cooperation and patience of the victims’ families. Without their efforts, we could not have prosecuted this case. As disappointing as the verdict is, Mr. Kavanagh will spend the rest of his life in prison.”

On February 14, 2014, Kavanagh murdered three people. A fourth was lucky to live. The Defendant’s soon to be ex-wife, Jessica Kavanagh, was visiting her friend’s house. Kavanagh showed up and suspected that his ex-wife was engaged in a sexual relationship with one of the victim’s. After arguing, Defendant retrieved a knife from his car. He returned to the house and went on a killing spree. When he was done, Tara Fifer (age 22), Lexy Vandiver (age 29) and her son, Mason (age 7) were all dead. Jessica was stabbed multiple times but luckily survived. A total of 75 stab wounds had been inflicted on the four victims.

These murders occurred in Warren County. The Attorney General’s Office was asked to assist the Warren County Prosecuting Attorney.

After a change of venue to St. Charles County, the case was tried before Judge Rebeca Navarro-McKelvey. The Judge found the Defendant guilty of the following counts:

Count I: Murder in the first degree
Count II: Armed criminal action
Count III: Murder in the first degree
Count IV: Armed criminal action
Count V: Murder in the first degree
Count VI: Armed criminal action
Count VII: Domestic assault in the first degree
Count VIII: Armed criminal action
Count IX: Burglary in the first degree

The Court sentenced Kavanagh to life without probation or parole for each count of murder in the first degree, fifteen years for each count of armed criminal action, life imprisonment for domestic assault in the first degree, and fifteen years for burglary in the first degree.

Assistant Attorney General Kevin Zoellner assisted the Warren County Prosecuting Attorney, Kelly King, in prosecuting the case.