In this Sept. 24, 2020, file photo, Carine Reeves enters the courtroom at the Penobscot Judicial Center in Bangor. Credit: Natalie Williams / BDN

The New York man convicted of shooting a Maine woman in the back of the head more than three years ago in Cherryfield was sentenced Tuesday to 48 years in prison for murder.

Carine Reeves, 40, who has a violent criminal history, was in Maine selling drugs when he killed Sally Shaw, 55, of New Gloucester in July 2017. Shaw’s body was found by a passing motorist on Route 193. A Penobscot County jury found him guilty of murder on Oct. 5 after five days of testimony.

Reeves on Tuesday maintained his innocence. He told the judge that he was not present when Shaw died.

“I’m going to fight for my life,” Reeves said. “Nobody’s looking to see who actually killed Sally Shaw. You aren’t seeking justice, you are seeking a conviction.”

Sally Shaw Credit: Courtesy of the Shaw family

Superior Court Justice Harold Stewart II called Reeves an unlikely candidate for rehabilitation based on his long, violent criminal history that goes back to when he was 15.

Assistant Attorney General Leane Zainea recommended a sentence of 50 years. Defense attorney Stephen Smith urged the judge to impose a sentence of 35 years.

Reeves faced between 25 years and life in prison.

Shaw’s daughter, Heather Senechiame, described her mother as a “fiery redhead who laughed as she had no care in the world.” She owned and operated a driving school in Gray.

“She fell into hard times and into a trap and the hands of a killer,” she said in a statement read by her son, Cameron Senechiame.

Other family members emotionally urged the judge to send Reeves to jail for the rest of his life.

Reeves’ trial was highlighted by testimony from 22-year-old Lewiston resident Quaneysha Greeley. She described her involvement with Shaw in Reeves’ drug operation and the trip to Machias to try to find new buyers for drugs that resulted in Shaw’s death. Greeley, Shaw and Reeves dealt drugs across Maine for almost a year before Shaw’s death, the judge said.

On the day Shaw died, the three of them were traveling from Machias to Bangor. Shaw started provoking Reeves by insulting the mother of his children, and didn’t stop after Reeves and Greeley asked her to, the 22-year-old said in court.

Reeves, who was driving, hit Shaw, pulled the car over and dragged her out of the car while Greeley remained in the passenger seat, Greeley said. He pulled Shaw over to the side of the road, shot her and left her body there, she said.

In September 2018, Greeley pleaded guilty to one count each of hindering apprehension and conspiracy to distribute drugs, both Class B crimes. She was sentenced Tuesday, following Reeves’ sentencing, to 3½ years in prison with all but 25 months suspended, time she has already served. In exchange for her testimony, a murder charge was dismissed Tuesday.

Geeley had been free on $2,500 bail since December 2019. In addition to prison time, the judge sentenced her to one year of probation and ordered her to pay a $400 mandatory minimum fine on the drug charge. She faced up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $20,000 on the charges.

Reeves’ return to Maine from New York for trial in Shaw’s death was delayed by pending charges there. He was sentenced in 2018 in that state to 20 years in prison after being convicted of slashing the face of a 36-year-old woman on Feb. 25, 2017, in front of a gas station in Queens.

He also was sentenced for assaulting a corrections officer while awaiting trial on the assault charge.

Reeves is expected to be returned to New York to complete his sentence there before returning to Maine to begin serving his sentence in Shaw’s slaying. Stewart said Reeves would serve his Maine sentence at the same time he serves the one in New York.

He has said he will appeal his murder conviction and sentence to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court based on conflicts over how Smith represented him. Reeves also is expected to renew his objections to the judge’s order that he, a Black man, wear a mask during the trial. The judge ordered everyone in the courtroom to wear masks due to the coronavirus pandemic.