RUMFORD, Maine — A woman accused of being involved in her husband’s murder pleaded guilty Friday to criminal conspiracy and criminal solicitation.
Two counts of murder against Gayla Sheldon, 25, of Rumford were dropped, as was a charge of hindering apprehension or prosecution. She faces 25 years in prison with all but 15 years suspended and four years of probation when she’s released.
Sheldon’s husband, Victor Reed Sheldon, and his friend Roger Leroy Day Jr. were shot to death in 2009. Eric Hamel and Richard Moulton, who was Gayla Sheldon’s boyfriend at the time, confessed to the killings and pleaded guilty to murder.
On Dec. 17, 2010, Gayla Sheldon was indicted and arrested on two charges of murder in addition to criminal conspiracy, criminal solicitation and hindering apprehension or prosecution.
Sheldon was indicted after an Oxford County grand jury heard evidence presented by Hamel, 21, and Moulton, 22, who were both convicted for their roles in the murders of Victor Sheldon and Day on Aug. 3, 2009, at Day’s home on Pine Street.
When Hamel and Moulton were arrested, they told police the killings were payback for an assault against Sheldon by her husband. Hamel told police that he and Moulton had met with Gayla Sheldon several times to plan the murders. Hamel said she feared Victor Sheldon would get custody of their two sons.
Hamel and Moulton were honor roll graduates from Mountain Valley High School in Rumford. Moulton dated Gayla Sheldon for a short time when he was 14 and she was 18, but his father told him to stop. He did, but they reconnected when Moulton was 19.
Victor Sheldon was convicted of misdemeanor domestic assault against his wife in January 2008. According to court documents, Sheldon “threw butter” at his wife in that incident. The case was filed after a year of good behavior. Two months later, he was charged with violation of conditions of release. That was also filed for good behavior.
After that, Gayla Sheldon filed for divorce in Franklin County. She wrote in a statement that he abused her “physically, verbally and emotionally.” Their divorce was never finalized because Gayla Sheldon did not serve her husband with the paperwork, and a Farmington District Court judge dismissed the action.
Less than a month before Victor Sheldon was killed, he was charged with assaulting Gayla Sheldon at Moulton’s apartment. That charge was dismissed the day he died.
Victor Sheldon had recently moved in with Day when the two men were shot and killed. Moulton told police he was visiting Day’s apartment but was in the bathroom when the shootings occurred. He said he heard three gunshots and left the bathroom to find Day and Sheldon lying on the floor.
Hamel initially denied involvement in the murders, but eventually told police that Moulton had asked him to kill Victor Sheldon, and Day, if he was at the house. Hamel said he agreed to kill the men, whom he hadn’t met, for $2,000.
Sentencing of Hamel and Moulton had been pending until they testified at trial against anyone else involved in the murder. Gayla Sheldon’s trial was set for Sept. 19.
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