Pizza delivery man stabbed in 1997 shocked his attackers are out of prison

Albert Yeager
Albert Yeager

Jeffersonville, IN - By Marisela Burgos - bio | email

JEFFERSONVILLE, IN (WAVE) - Two women convicted in 1997 of attempted murder and robbery and sentenced to 60 years each, were released from prison on July 13. Shayla Shackleford and Devonna McDonald walked out of the Indiana a day after a judge reduced their sentences.

Randy Wexler, the women's defense attorney, also credits their shortened sentences to the women receiving GED's while in prison, getting college degrees, serving as mentors and for helping to design programs for prisoners.

In 1997, then 14-year-old Shackleford and 15-year-old McDonald were convicted of stabbing Albert Yeager, a pizza delivery man for Papa John's.

"I went to the door to make the delivery. They kinda slid out in a ghost-like fashion. Next thing I know, I had a knife in my side," said Yeager recalling the attack.

Yeager said the teenagers continuously stabbed him at his side and then stabbed him at the back of his left shoulder.

"Finally {I} managed to get the knife away from one of them and they fled," Yeager said. "Took my car, drove off and I went for help."

During the attack, Yeager said he thought about his 8-year-old son. He said that is what helped pull him through. But to this day, Yeager said he is recovering.

"{I} still got pain, everyday," Yeager said.

Even though it has been 13 years since the attack, Yeager said he does not get a break from it. He said people ask about the attack constantly. Yeager said he may move out of the state, partly because of the constant reminders. He also said it caught him off guard to hear the news the women who attacked him would be released from prison.

"It's unbelievable," said Yeager. "I wasn't too happy about hearing that. Prosecutor wasn't either, thought they should have served more time. I have to agree with that."

Wexler disagrees, saying his clients were model prisoners. But to Yeager the girls got an education, while he feels his family was forgotten.

"It's always about the criminal, not the victim," Yeager said. "I'm not saying they need to do more time, but who's to say. They're about 20-something years old. They're still young enough to be influenced,"

WAVE 3 has learned Clark County Prosecutor Steve Stewart plans to seek an appeal about the judge's decision to reduce the 60-year sentences of Shackleford and McDonald, claiming the original sentences were appropriate. Stewart plans to ask the state attorney general's office to appeal the decision.

According to Former Chief Deputy Bill Grimes, the prosecution plans to fight this decision, claiming the judge made it too soon. Grimes said years ago, a Court of Appeals ruled there was no legal error made during sentencing. But others argue there was an error. A judge was appointed to hear that issue, but Stewart filed an appeal saying the judge appointed to oversee it should be withdrawn because of a bias. That appeal has not even been finalized and that's why Grimes said the decision to release Shackleford and McDonald, at this time, was untimely.

In response, Wexler said: "We are disappointed that the state's press release continues to ignore the merits of the claims instead focusing on an alleged claim of bias by the trial judge. That claim has been fully tested and rejected by the trial court and the court of appeals after considering evidence and argument."

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