Lawyers for a Florida woman accused of murdering her husband have claimed the couple’s 14-year-old daughter wants to confess to the fatal shooting.
The bombshell allegations were made in court filings by Laurie Shaver’s defence on Monday (15 May), more than seven years after her 40-year-old husband Michael Shaver was shot to death.
The saga began in 2015 when Shaver was last seen by family members, but he was not reported missing until 2018 after loved ones grew suspicious because they were only able to communicate with him via text messages and social media.
Laurie Shaver, now 40, claimed that her husband had quit his job, abandoned their family and left for Georgia — or New York, California and even Afghanistan in her varying accounts — in a Black SUV.
She allegedly went on to use his debit and credit cards, sell his firearms and “marry” her new boyfriend without reporting Shaver missing.
His body was ultimately found buried in a fire pit in the backyard of the family’s rural home in Lake County in March 2018. Ms Shaver was charged with second-degree murder with a firearm and accessory after the fact, with her case being delayed by the pandemic.
Ms Shaver, who has pleaded not guilty to both counts, has now claimed through her attorneys that her 14-year-old daughter wishes to testify in the case and admit that it was she and not her mother who pulled the trigger at the age of just even years old.
The court has previously denied motions by the defence to have the child be evaluated by a forensic psychologist — a necessary step before the court can determine whether she can take the stand.
Ms Shaver’s attorneys have accused the prosecution of “bur[ying] their head on what is evidence which may truly seek out and ensure that justice is obtained,” per records reviewed by The Independent. According to the defence, the minor has met with her legal guardian and “has persisted in seeking to testify.”
The Independent has reached out to Ms Shaver’s attorneys and Shaver’s family for comment.
According to the affidavit for her arrest, Ms Shaver told sheriff deputies that her husband left the family home in 2014 following his release for a domestic violence arrest.
Records show Shaver was taken into custody after his wife allegedly hit him in the head with her pink .38 calibre gun and caused him a laceration.
She then claimed the last time she saw him was during a court hearing for their custody case in 2015.
Ms Shaver cooperated with an initial search at the home following a request for a wellness check by a friend of Shaver in February 2018. But when deputies asked to bring cadaver dogs to the area where a fire pit had been built, she reportedly asked investigators to leave.
Ms Shaver’s boyfriend Travis Filmer told authorities during the investigation that his girlfriend had said, “It’s not that [Michael] is missing, it’s that he’s no longer walking on this earth.”
She also allegedly told him something bad had happened on the property and Michael’s body was buried there.
After obtaining a search warrant, investigators returned to the home and discovered Shaver’s body buried three feet beneath the fire pit. He was covered in a tarp and sheets.
An autopsy determined he was killed by a single gunshot to the back of the head. Authorities have determined that Shaver was killed between 7 November 2015, when he quit his job via text message, and 10 November 2015.
Three days after Shaver’s body was found but before it was positively identified, a postcard was mailed from Orlando to the Shavers’ home. It read: “Tell the kids I love them see you soon, Mike.”
Shaver’s boss told investigators he had never missed a day of work without calling out, and that it was unlikely he would leave his tools at work. A message, believed to have been sent by Ms Shaver, said that her husband’s employer could keep his tools. A coworker visited the home to check on Shaver but was told by Ms Shaver that he had left for Georgia, although her husband’s vehicle was still at the property.
Shaver’s family and friends then began receiving odd texts. One of them addressed to his sister, read: “Everyone just needs to start leaving me alone like they did my entire life.”
A text to his niece also read: “Who are you? ... I have no family anymore. I have no clue who you are. Now stop messaging me”
Other coworkers told police that Shaver had sometimes arrived to work with bruises on his face, chest and arms, and once claimed that Ms Shaver had punched him with closed fists.
Around 10 days after he is believed to have died, Shaver’s debit card was used to purchase female lingerie that was then delivered to his wife at the family home.
Loans mailed to the Shaver’s property and purchases totalling up to $5,000 were also allegedly cashed by Ms Shaver, police said.
Several witnesses interviewed by investigators claimed that Ms Shaver began selling her husband’s firearms, allegedly telling potential sellers that she was also selling his truck and the house for $150,000.
Authorities believe the fire pit was built between March 2016 and the concrete slab was finalised in September of that year. Ms Shaver and her boyfriend allegedly continued to work on the fire pit in the summer of 2016 and posted pictures on Facebook of their progress.
Police have accused Ms Shaver of impersonating him before and after his death. Investigators believe Ms Shaver pretended to be her husband in an attempt to convince the wife of a man she was having an affair with to file for divorce.
The man told investigators that he didn’t think her affair with Ms Shaver, believed to have taken place months after Shaver was killed, was serious and proceeded to break it off after Ms Shaver reportedly got a tattoo of his name near her vagina.
A woman who Shaver dated while he and his wife were separated also told authorities that she recalled a time Shaver warned her that Ms Shaver had a gun and was upset about their affair.
The woman claimed Ms Shaver had threatened to tell her family she was a “homewrecker,” and had called her grandmother at 3am.
Investigators alleged in court filings that Ms Shaver had access to four guns at the time that she is accused of murdering her husband.