Ashley Reeves - Victim of beating remains in serious condition



Two articles. From the Belleville [IL] News-Democrat--

Victim of beating remains in serious condition
BY ALIANA RAMOS
News-Democrat

Columbia High School junior Ashley S. Reeves, 17, remains in serious
condition In a St. Louis-area hospital Monday afternoon.

Police found Reeves about 2 a.m. Saturday with a broken neck behind a
baseball field at Citizens Park in Belleville. Reeves' was found more
than 30 hours after she was last seen leaving her home in Millstadt
for a job interview in Belleville.

Freeburg High School teacher and pro wrestler Samson Shelton, 26, of
Wildwood Lake Estates in Smithton was charged with two counts of
attempted first-degree murder and one count of kidnapping.

Police have said the two had "a relationship," but Lt. Steve Johnson,
of the St. Clair County Sheriff's Department, declined to give a
motive. Reeves reportedly met up with Shelton at Laderman Park in
Belleville on Thursday afternoon, but things went bad.

Shelton, a driver's education teacher and professional wrestler, is
charged with breaking Reeves' neck and then using his belt in an
attempt to strangle Reeves before dumping her Thursday in a heavily
wooded area in Citizens Park and leaving her for dead.

Reeves' friend, Kristi Baumgartner, said that Shelton and Reeves hung
out after school regularly.

If convicted of the charges, Shelton could face a prison sentence of 6
to 30 years. Shelton is being held in the St. Clair County Jail in
lieu of $1 million bail.

Reeves is in Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital in St. Louis.
Hospital spokesman Bob Davidson said Reeves' parents are overwhelmed
with their daughter's condition and have declined to speak to the
media at this time.

Baumgartner said that according to Reeves' mother, Ashley appears to
be in shock. It is not known whether the broken neck has led to more
serious complications.

http://www.belleville.com/mld/belleville/14474028.htm

Crisis team to help teens cope with attack
Columbia classmate in serious condition
BY ALIANA RAMOS AND GEORGE PAWLACZYK
News-Democrat

The Monroe County Student Crisis Assistance team will be activated
today to help teens at Columbia High School cope with the attempted
murder of junior Ashley Reeves, 17.

Samson "Sam" Shelton, 26, a pro wrestler and teacher at Freeburg High
School, is charged with breaking her neck and then using his belt in
an attempt to strangle Reeves before dumping her Thursday at Citizens
Park in Belleville.

Police found Reeves about 2 a.m. Saturday -- more than 30 hours after
she was last seen -- in the brush behind a baseball diamond at
Citizens Park. She was listed in serious condition at a St. Louis
hospital on Sunday. Her parents couldn't be reached for comment
Sunday.

"I was shocked," said Holly Riebling,15, a freshman at Columbia High
School. "I had (computer) class with her. She was always really nice.
If I needed help or had a question I would go to her."

Reeves, of Millstadt, was last seen about 3:30 p.m. Thursday, when she
told her aunt she was going to a job interview in Belleville. The car
that she was driving, which belonged to her boyfriend, was found at
Laderman Park in Belleville about 11:30 p.m. Thursday, after her
parents reported her missing.

St. Clair County Sheriff's Department Lt. Steve Johnson said Reeves
and Shelton had "a relationship." He said according to investigations
the pair had known each other for about two months but declined to
give details.

Reeves' friend, Kristi Baumgartner, said Reeves met Shelton at Mardi
Gras in St. Louis through friends and the two had been hanging out
regularly after school. But, she said Reeves denied that she and
Shelton were more than friends.

Baumgartner, a junior at Columbia High School, said she was hoping to
visit Reeves in the hospital soon.

When police contacted Baumgartner after Reeves' disappearance, she
immediately told them about Shelton.

"Friends of Ashley's told us that she liked to play basketball at
Laderman Park and gave us a list of the people she would play with,"
Johnson said. "One, of them was Sam Shelton. His age raised red
flags."

Johnson said investigators connected with Shelton about 12:30 p.m.
Friday.

"Due to investigation, it was (about) 1 a.m. (Saturday) when we were
able to determine within close proximity where she was," Johnson said.
He said Shelton was with investigators while they searched Citizens
Park.

"You have to imagine that after hours of interviews and then going out
into the cold to search in a heavily wooded area, with cobwebs and
branches swinging in your face, then you see this body in the brush,"
Johnson said. "You think, it's another homicide -- And, then you see
her chest move. I can't describe that feeling."

Shelton, of Wildwood Lake Estates in Smithton was charged with two
counts of attempted first-degree murder and one count of kidnapping.
If convicted of the charges, he would face a prison sentence of 6 to
30 years. Shelton is being held at the St. Clair County Jail in lieu
of $1 million bail.

The 6-foot, 1-inch, 200-pound Shelton is listed as a wrestler in the
Ultimate Wrestling Alliance and has appeared in several metro-east
prize rings, including in Fairview Heights and Cahokia.

Bob Casta, a St. Louis wrestling promoter, said Shelton last wrestled
for him on April 13.

He said Shelton wrestled for him and typically was paid about $30 to
50 per match. He was a "bad guy," or so-called villain who was still
relatively new to the business.

"I was just floored when I heard the news," Casta said, "He just
didn't seem like that kind of a guy." Shelton teaches both driver's
and physical education and is a volunteer assistant baseball coach at
Freeburg High School.

Freeburg Superintendent Andrew Lehman said the school conducted the
state required criminal background checks before hiring Shelton. He
also said that he has not had any complaints from coaches or students
about Shelton.

An Internet search Sunday afternoon showed a softball web site with a
photo of Shelton, where he described himself as a "pimp" and that he
was single and looking for a "hot" female and age didn't matter.

Shelton was dismissed from the softball team in the summer of 2005
because of schedule conflicts, said Todd Herring, a former player of
the Belleville Stallions.

Lehman said the school district had not conducted an Internet search
to check Shelton's background, because it was not required.

Shelton has not yet been fired or suspended from Freeburg High School,
Lehman said. He said the school is conducting an investigation. While
Shelton is in jail, a substitute will take over his classes.

He said the case might be discussed at a previously scheduled school
board meeting 7 p.m. Wednesday, which would be closed session.

Like Columbia High School, Freeburg students also will have access to
crisis counselors today, Lehman said.

"We're going to take this one day at a time," said Columbia Community
School Superintendent Leo Sherman.

Sherman said the high school principal planned to meet with faculty
this morning and will also give an announcement to students regarding
the case.

Johnson credits the joint efforts of the Swansea Police Department,
Illinois State Police, St. Louis County Police Department, Belleville
Police Department and St. Clair County investigators with helping to
find Reeves in time.

"When we found her it would have been hard to believe she would have
lasted another night," Johnson said. "The good guys won. We found her
and we found her alive."

http://www.belleville.com/mld/belleville/14470984.htm

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