September 4, 2007
The trial for the Fluvanna County man accused of killing his girlfriend and her unborn baby back in 2001 is now underway in Louisa County.
Until now we did not know how 18 year old Shantay Wheeler was killed or what the motive may have been for her murder. Prosecutors in their opening statements said 28 year old Irvin Fountain's motive for killing Shantay was that he wanted to reunite with his wife but that Shantay and the baby stood in the way.
As to how, forensic experts from the Smithsonian testified Shantay had been shot four times: once in the back, twice in the jaw and once in the temple.
Prosecutors also said Fountain admitted to detectives that the shooting was an accident. And that is exactly what the defense says the evidence will prove -- that Shantay's death was nothing more than an accident.
"We're confident that the trial will cause the truth to come out. I know there had been a lot of speculation about this but we will finally have evidence and evidence of course is what we use to determine the truth," said Rick Kelley one of Fountain's defense attorneys.
Shantay was 8 and a half months pregnant when she disappeared in 2001. Her family reported her missing when she didn't show up to her own baby shower. Her body was found five months later. Although he remained a suspect Fountain was not arrested until five years after Shantay's murder. Defense attorneys said there is no proof the baby was Fountain's.
Fountain is charged with capital murder and faces up to life in prison if convicted. The trial is expected to continue through the week.