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By Thinkgoat

Original story found here.

Cass County, Illinois Well, Shirley Skinner may have awakened Wednesday thinking she had a chance of Santa Claus not crossing her name completely off his list. What she may have not realized, Santa is a pretty clever and resourceful man. As she was sitting patiently in court waiting to hear if her bond had been decreased from $5 million to something more affordable, the naughty file attached to Shirley was opened a bit wider. Any chance of grandma spending the holidays at home with her family by bail reduction became as likely as the chance for Steven, the guy she allegedly shot to death, has in spending it with his two small children.

Shirley Skinner sat in court today and listened as the Cass County grand jury (oxymoron if I’ve ever typed one) added two more charges on top of the three count indictment of murder. Solicitation of murder for hire. Two counts. She wasn’t just stupid once, she is showing a pattern here.

The indictment shows old hag Shirley not only tried to off her granddaughter’s soon to be ex-husband, she tried to prey upon a couple of employees, Donald Russel and Leland (Mike) Knott, who worked for Triple S. Forest Products Inc., a business she owned in nearby Beardstown Illinois. Between the dates of August 1 and September 25, 2008, she allegedly offered up $10,000 if someone would take care of their little problem.

How did her defense handle the accusations? With a great deal of common sense, that’s how. They met the accusations head on and told the truth. Everyone around Central Illinois knows that soliciting murder for a definitive amount of money is normal chit chat over cups of coffee.

One of the best things that has come out of the newest charges: it pretty much blows any self-defense claim of Steven pushing her down. It shows cold and calculated premeditation to the extent of having to pull the trigger herself since she couldn’t find anyone quite evil enough to accept payment for a murder. You just can’t trust anyone else to do a thorough job – you’ve got to do it yourself.

Although things are getting done now that the Illinois State Police are in charge, it still pisses me off to no end that this entire murder was planned out and executed with that small child in the house. The entire bunch of them are spiteful, manipulative, and fucking evil to the core. Further: I can understand keeping little Sidney in her room for the remainder of that evening but what happened the next morning? Did they allow her to step through the mess that was remaining on the floor? “Oh don’t sit there, honey. That’s where your daddy’s brains were. It’s not sanitary.” Fuck those people. They don’t deserve the decency of a free day with an innocent child…the child whose father was shot in cold blood because the courts were about to find out Jennifer and family were pieces of shit. Sorry Skinner clan. Not only are the courts finding this out, but the world is also. Sleep well, Jennifer and Kenneth, there are real police on the case now. Your involvement is coming out soon. I hear it’s noisy as hell in jail.

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  1. thinkgoat says:

    I would have made her picture larger but if it makes me sick looking at it, I’m sure everyone else would have a worse reaction. She keeps getting uglier each time I look at that evil grinch-resembling face.

    It should be noted, Donald Russell and Mike Knott did not come forward with the information of Shirley soliciting their murdering skills. It’s claimed they feared for their jobs. Whatthefuckever. I might buy into them fearing for their lives but come on…glad these grown men were willing to stand up and do the right thing. Hope your families are proud of you.


  2. chelesbells says:

    Patiently waiting to see the rest of them to go down also !! Their time is coming !! An I hope it grabs them by the balls, just like those other charges did for Shirley Skinner. I really take pleasure when pieces of shit like this just don’t see it coming !!


  3. Lazlo says:

    I am wondering how Birdsell feels, seeing all things go down scant months after the state police taking over. Is he jealous, angry, or just disappointed that he couldn’t make it all go away?


  4. thinkgoat says:

    Okay, so the daughter of Chief Birdsell has tried defending her father’s wonderful name through this whole fiasco – to the extent of getting her profanity ridden rants deleted from the local paper. This morning I was pointed to a facebook page where this charming girl was telling everyone – especially Steven Watkins’ mother to shut up and quit bitching about Steven’s murder case. Yeah, class act. A spoiled rotten, spiteful, semi-retarded girl. (I say this because her sentences are a nasty mix of text type, rant typing, and bottom of the barrel Cass County vocabulary)

    I decided I’d invite her here to debate with me/us.

    To Kaitlyn Birdsell:

    You’re honestly going to college? Like an accredited educational institution? Studying law? Or is that just something you’re telling people in a poor attempt to impress someone? I’ve read (rather attempted) your comments on the Journal Courier and your latest to Penny Watkins on Ackerman’s Facebook page…the ones you just deleted today. I can’t believe you graduated High School. They must have felt sorry for you.

    You’ve got a lot of nerve telling people who want justice for the Watkins murder to shut up. But I’ll make you a deal…come play with me. I’ve exposed your father’s incompetitance on a National level. You must get your smarts from him – and those tits your flashing in your picture on here – do they come from him too?

    Seriously, let’s debate. I’ve got a wonderful Retard-to-English dictionary I use especially for people like you – I’m sure it’ll be fun. If you don’t have the guts to debate me, leave those who are trying to heal alone. I have no stake in this murder. I’m not related to anyone involved. I’m just a writer who loves when idiots come on all frothing at the mouth and trying to pretend they know their ass from a hole in the ground.

    Instead of coming here, she “went to the police”. 😉 All of a sudden her crackpot father who fucked with a crime scene is now posing as a cyber-crime investigator? LMAO All I can say is if this message upset her, she wouldn’t have liked the original I typed out…


  5. Peeperann says:

    TG, I love you!! You know that, right? Thank God for you. Bringing all of this to national attention! I am so happy they found out about her trying to hire her two employee’s (sucks they couldn’t be men about it and come forward on their own), but wow, bitch has no hope of getting off now!

    As for the rest of her family, I hope they all end up going down too. There had to be conversations within the family about doing this, you know there was. I want everyone of them to never see a free day again for the rest of their pathetic lives.

    And that Kaitlyn chick needs shut her pie hole. Telling Stevens family to shut up about it??? That’s just evil, cold and plain stupid. And apparently she does get her brains from her daddy, He couldn’t make a case if he wanted to, and I don’t believe he wanted to. Thank God the state police are on it now, hopefully Stevens family will get the justice they deserve.

    Although, there is never enough justice for someone who takes your child away from you forever……


  6. SHELLY says:

    I hope the evil bitch NEVER sees Christmas outside of prison walls again! The rest of the family should be sitting next to her and Sydney should be with Stevens family! This whole thing makes me sick!


  7. thinkgoat says:

    Police: Ashland woman confessed

    Shirley Skinner confessed, and her granddaughter Jennifer Watkins also said that Skinner shot Steven Watkins, police told a Cass County grand jury in October.

    Ashland Police Chief Jim Birdsell testified that paramedics who responded to Skinner’s home, where Steven Watkins was killed on Nov. 25, 2008, told him that Skinner admitted shooting the Chandlerville man.

    Jennifer Watkins said much the same thing, Birdsell told the grand jury, according to a transcript of the proceedings made public Wednesday by Adams County Circuit Judge Mark Schuering, who is presiding over Skinner’s murder trial.

    “When I finally got a chance, I got Jennifer Watkins outside, and I asked her what happened,” Birdsell testified. “She told me that he (Steven Watkins) had forced his self in and knocked her grandma down and that she was having heart problems. And that he was coming after her to take the baby away from her and her grandma shot him.”

    No identifiable fingerprints were found on the Glock handgun used to kill Watkins. Birdsell said he picked the weapon up to unload it, but he wore rubber gloves while doing so. Birdsell also testified that abrasions on Skinner’s hand were consistent with injuries caused by the slide of a handgun.

    Since the killing, Skinner’s relatives have refused to answer questions, authorities say.

    Even before paramedics took Skinner, who was complaining of chest pains, to a hospital, someone handed a phone to Birdsell. Jon Gray Noll, Skinner’s attorney, was on the line.

    “He (Noll) said that he was representing Mrs. Skinner and that he did not want me to talk to her,” Birdsell testified.

    Sooo, Shirley has abrasions consistent with firing a weapon but Birdsell doesn’t take pictures. Shirley feigns heart problems (?) to avoid questioning and her attorney is immediately on the phone with Birdsell – once Shirley is released from the hospital Birdsell doesn’t hold her? Even with her confession AND Jennifer’s account of what happened? Nope! He lets her leave the State of Illinois to soak up the good life in their trailer in Florida. There’s a ton of paperwork associated with taking official statements, processing a murder scene, arresting someone. God knows there’s more pressing things to address. It’s not like Steven was going to get any deader, right?

    And Birdsell/Skinner apologists, if you’re reading this, if rubber gloves were worn, how did Birdsell’s DNA get on the gun? Was it really up his ass like some are claiming?

    One other glaring thing: Police: Ashland woman confessed. Why did it take a year and the State Police to like, say….arrest the bitch?


  8. Deathstalker says:

    What’s up with old women wanting to hire people to kill or hurt others?


  9. Deathstalker says:

    Gotta give g-ma props though for wanting to do it herself.


  10. peeperann says:

    DB, no props for G-ma, she finally only did herself because she failed at hiring anyone else to do it! The entire family is fucked up. They all know what happened, and why.


  11. thinkgoat says:

    Whoa, a kick ass article in Springfield IL State Journal Register…

    DNA was found on the murder weapon – that of Jennifer Watkins (estranged wife of Steven’s) and Jim Birdsell (Chief of Police – Ashland) If Shirley Skinner had visible injuries on her firing hand from what looked like the slide of the Glock, complete with blood – why wasn’t her DNA found on that weapon? WHY?

    Prosecutor says state’s case not easy for Skinner


    ASHLAND — Neither Shirley Skinner nor her family had much love for Steven Paul Watkins, who was shot to death more than a year ago at Skinner’s home 20 miles northwest of Springfield.

    That much is clear from transcripts of an October grand jury session in which investigators laid out their case against the 74-year-old grandmother, of Ashland, who is charged with first-degree murder. Those same transcripts, placed into the court record Wednesday by Adams County Circuit Judge Mark Schuering, show that Skinner and her relatives haven’t been much help in solving the crime.

    “This case has not been easy for the state in many respects,” special prosecutor Michael Vujovich said at a hearing Wednesday at which Skinner was arraigned on additional, murder-for-hire charges.

    The case centers on a custody dispute over Sidney Watkins, who was 18 months old when her father was killed. He was shot once in the head from behind when he went to Skinner’s home to pick Sidney up for a court-ordered visit. Watkins was 32.

    Steven Watkins’ short-lived marriage to Jennifer Watkins, Shirley Skinner’s granddaughter, began in August 2006 and started as many marriages do, according to Penny Watkins, Steven’s mother.

    “At the wedding, that’s all that family could do was sing his praises,” she said.

    But when Sidney was born a year later, Steven wasn’t allowed to be alone with his daughter: Either his wife or one of his in-laws had to be present, Illinois State Police Sgt. Kelly Walter told the grand jury. Jennifer would take the child a half-block to the Skinner home, leaving her husband and his daughter, Alex, behind, Walter testified. Sidney and her mother would eat dinner at the Skinner home, the sergeant said. Eventually, Sidney would fall asleep and her mother would take her home and put her to bed.

    “He wasn’t allowed to spend time with that particular daughter,” Walter told the grand jury.

    And that was fine by Jennifer Watkins, according to Steven Watkins’ mother.

    “Jennifer told him (Steven) one time that she thought they had the perfect marriage: She and Sidney living with her family, and he and Alex living in their home,” Penny Watkins said. “They could visit and have dinner once or twice a week.

    “That was a perfect marriage.”

    ‘Couldn’t let go’

    Steven and Jennifer Watkins separated five months after Sidney’s birth, with Jennifer moving to the Skinner home, where her parents and brother also lived — three generations under the same roof. The marriage officially crumbled in May 2008, when Steven filed for divorce and asked for custody of Sidney.

    Penny Watkins said her son, who sent his estranged wife flowers for Mother’s Day just weeks before filing for divorce, still loved Jennifer.

    “He wanted to show they could be a family without her family,” she said. “I think he realized that would never be because she couldn’t let go of her family.”

    After being served with divorce papers, Jennifer Watkins filed a complaint with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, accusing her estranged husband of tickling Sidney inappropriately from the time the child was born until she was 3 weeks old.

    DCFS investigators found no evidence of inappropriate touching. Penny Watkins said the timing of the complaint, months after the alleged conduct occurred, shows the accusation was groundless.

    “Anybody who knew Steven knew better,” she said.

    For months after Jennifer made her complaint, her estranged husband wasn’t allowed to see Sidney. That changed in September 2008, when a judge granted visitation. But Steven still had difficulty seeing his daughter.

    “There were a lot of problems with visitation even though it was court ordered,” Sgt. Walter told the grand jury. “There were a lot of instances where he would show up to get his child for visitation, and Jennifer would say that the child was sick and (someone) had taken her to the doctor.”

    Medical records, however, did not reflect illnesses, Walter testified.

    Flare-ups over visitation spilled into law enforcement. Steven Watkins called Ashland police on Oct. 30, 2008, when Kenneth Skinner, Shirley’s husband, and Robert Skinner, the son of Shirley and Kenneth, yelled at him, telling him he couldn’t see Sidney. By the time an officer arrived, Jennifer Watkins and possibly Shirley Skinner had taken the child away, Walter testified.

    At one point during testimony, a grand juror asked an obvious question: Why did the Skinner family hate Steven Watkins so much?

    Vujovich didn’t have an answer.

    “Each one of you may come up with a different theory as to motivation … and what prompted this,” the prosecutor said. “And at the end of our proceedings here, after you gather evidence, maybe that answer will be provided to you. If not, we can speculate from now until forever.”

    Penny Watkins thinks she knows.

    “My opinion, they could not control him,” she said. “He wouldn’t submit to their way of life. They all lived together, ate together — they’re together all the time, and the rest of the world is cut out. Steven had Alex and other family. I just believe that was part of it.”

    Tangled legal web

    Nov. 26, 2008, loomed as a crucial day in the battle over Sidney.

    On that day, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, Jennifer and Steven Watkins were due in court, with a judge expected to decide whether Sidney should be allowed to spend more time with her father. Four days before the hearing, Walter testified, Jennifer Watkins sent a text message to her estranged husband: Would he come to the Skinner home the day before the scheduled hearing and sit down with her family and work things out? Steven Watkins told his estranged wife he would let the court decide.

    Two days before the scheduled hearing, Steven met Jennifer at the Olive Garden restaurant in Springfield. The grand jury testimony isn’t clear on who called the meeting, but it was a set-up. Debbie Webster, Jennifer’s mother, had hired a private investigator to eavesdrop from a nearby table, Walter testified. Jennifer wanted to talk about an order of protection that Penny Watkins had obtained against her two months earlier. Penny Watkins told the court that her estranged daughter-in-law pushed her and screamed profanities after coming to her home in Chandlerville uninvited.

    “You know your mother is lying — I never pushed her,” Jennifer told her estranged husband, who didn’t want to talk about the incident, Walter testified. After she refused to drop the subject, Steven left the restaurant, the sergeant told grand jurors.

    Steven was due at the Skinner home the next evening to pick up Sidney. That morning, Debbie Webster called the private investigator and told him that the family wanted him at the house to witness how Sidney reacted to her father; she would throw a fit, Walter testified.

    Also that morning, Nolan Lipsky, Jennifer’s lawyer, twice spoke with the judge in the divorce case, asking if the matter set for hearing the next day could be continued. Not unless the other side says a delay is acceptable, said the judge, noting that visitation for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday needed to be addressed. Jennifer’s family was concerned about visitation, Lipsky told the judge, who informed him that he was inclined to allow overnight visits between Sidney and her father, Walter testified.

    Lipsky subsequently spoke with Jennifer, who immediately called her mother’s phone after hanging up with the attorney, Walter testified. Early that afternoon, Debbie Webster called the private investigator: “My daughter has changed her mind. Don’t come out tonight to witness how Sidney reacts to her father,” Webster told the private eye, according to the grand jury transcript.

    At last week’s hearing, Schuering, who is presiding over Shirley Skinner’s murder trial, cited that statement as one reason for refusing to reduce bond from $5 million to $1 million.

    ‘Grandma shot him’

    Police Chief James Birdsell was at home, about eight miles from Ashland, when he got the call at 5:50 p.m. on Nov. 25, 2008.

    Jennifer Watkins had called 911, hysterical. Her estranged husband had forced his way into the house, knocking her grandmother over, and she’s having heart trouble, Jennifer told a 911 dispatcher. With no other officer on duty, Birdsell was about a half-block from the house when Jennifer, considerably calmer, called 911 a second time. This time, she told a dispatcher that her estranged husband had been shot dead.

    Birdsell first spoke with Rick Hand, a paramedic, outside the home. Hand told the chief that Shirley Skinner had said she’d shot Watkins and had asked twice whether he was dead. Birdsell found Skinner, sobbing, in the kitchen sitting on a chair, with paramedic Chuck Knapp holding both of her hands and attempting to calm her. Steven Watkins was on the floor about 30 feet away, about 20 feet from a Glock 17 handgun atop a cardboard box.

    Shortly after Birdsell arrived, Debbie Webster appeared at the door, saying she needed to come in and take care of her mother. She also told Birdsell not to speak with her daughter, Jennifer Watkins. When Birdsell told her she couldn’t see her mother, Webster entered through another door and joined other family members in a different area of the house, the chief told grand jurors.

    Jennifer was standing in a doorway, holding Sidney, who was crying slightly, Birdsell testified. Despite Webster’s admonition, Birdsell got Jennifer outside and had a brief discussion. It turned out to be the only time investigators have spoken with anyone who was in the house when Steven was killed.

    Jennifer told the chief that she, her grandmother, her grandfather and Sidney were the only people in the house when her estranged husband was shot.

    “She told me that he had forced his self in and knocked her grandma down and that she was having heart problems,” Birdsell testified. “And that he was coming after her to take the baby away from her and her grandma shot him.”

    Shortly afterward, just as paramedics prepared to take Shirley Skinner to a hospital, someone handed a phone to Birdsell. Jon Gray Noll, Skinner’s lawyer, was on the line.

    “He said that he was representing Mrs. Skinner and that he did not want me to talk to her,” Birdsell testified.

    Walter testified that she once asked Webster which attorney had advised her not to talk about the case. Jon Gray Noll, Webster answered.

    “So I said, ‘Let me see if I’ve got this straight: You are relying on the advice of counsel that doesn’t represent you when you could provide us with information that might help your mother,’” Walter told the grand jury. “And she said, ‘Yeah, I know.’”

    No fingerprints on gun

    Relatives followed when paramedics took Shirley Skinner to the hospital, leaving Birdsell in the house, waiting for crime technicians from the Illinois State Police to arrive.

    The house didn’t match Jennifer Watkins’ account of her estranged husband forcing his way in and knocking the elderly woman aside, Walter testified. The door showed no signs of forced entry, he said, and Skinner had no injuries consistent with being knocked down.

    No fingerprints were found on the Glock, which Birdsell says he picked up and unloaded while wearing rubber gloves.

    Such handling could well have destroyed fingerprints, said Mark Acree, a forensic scientist who once worked in an FBI latent print laboratory.

    “In terms of probable, it’s highly probable,” Acree, who is now a consultant, told The State Journal-Register in an interview.

    However, Glocks are notorious for textured surfaces that make print recovery difficult, Acree said.

    The Glock was registered to Jennifer Watkins, whose DNA was found on the weapon, according to court testimony from Birdsell, who also says his own DNA “possibly” was found on the gun. None of Skinner’s DNA was found on the Glock.

    “If the grandma actually used the gun to kill the person, if that was the last known use of that gun, I would expect to find some trace of her DNA,” Acree said. “Her (skin) cells would be on top.”

    Acree said it’s difficult to wipe DNA from a gun. Walter told grand jurors that DNA could have been destroyed by lab technicians who processed the weapon for fingerprints before looking for DNA. Acree said it’s also possible that Birdsell could have removed DNA evidence while touching the gun, but only if he handled the weapon excessively. Without knowing the concentration of Birdsell’s DNA found on the gun, it’s impossible to say, Acree said.

    Birdsell testified that Shirley Skinner had abrasions on her right hand, with blood present, consistent with being struck by the slide of a gun as it fired. A shell casing was found jammed in the gun, which can happen when a weapon isn’t held correctly when fired. However, no one took a photograph of the wound, Walter testified.

    “I can’t definitively say where those marks came from,” Walter said.

    The lack of Skinner’s DNA on the weapon raises questions about whether she is the killer, even if she said she was the shooter, Acree said.

    “She might be protecting somebody else,” Acree said.

    Penny Watkins said she has faith in the legal system and prosecutors.

    “There’s questions in my mind about what happened that night, not who did this,” she said. “I have to trust the legal system that there’s evidence that Shirley did it. Everybody doesn’t know the details.

    “I know my son pulled up there at 5:30 p.m. to pick up his daughter and never came out.”

    Trial could start in January

    Besides facing first-degree murder charges, Shirley Skinner has been charged with solicitation of murder for allegedly telling a pair of employees at her family’s Beardstown pallet company that she would pay $10,000 to have Steven Watkins killed.

    Skinner has demanded a speedy trial that could begin as early as Jan. 25. A defense request to have the trial moved to Quincy is pending and set for hearing Dec. 30.

    Who’s who in the murder case


    Shirley Skinner: Wife of Kenneth Skinner, grandmother to Jennifer Watkins (Steven Watkins’ estranged wife) and mother of Debbie Webster, Jennifer’s mother. Charged with first-degree murder
    Kenneth Skinner: Husband of Shirley, grandfather to Jennifer and father of Webster. Was present in house when Steven Watkins was shot.
    Robert Skinner: Son of Shirley and Kenneth Skinner and Webster’s husband
    Debbie Webster: Mother of Jennifer and daughter of Shirley and Kenneth Skinner
    Jennifer Watkins: Steven Watkins’ estranged wife who lived in the Skinner home during divorce proceedings. Daughter of Webster and granddaughter of the Skinners.

    Steven Watkins: Estranged husband of Jennifer Watkins, shot to death in on Nov. 25, 2008.
    Sidney Watkins: Now 2 years old, the daughter of Steven and Jennifer Watkins
    Alex Watkins: Now 10, Steven Watkins’ daughter and Sidney Watkins’ half-sister.
    Penny Watkins: Steven Watkins’ mother

    Jim Birdsell: Ashland police chief
    Illinois State Police Sgt. Kelly Walters: State investigator called in two months after the killing to assist with the investigation
    Michael Vujovich: Special prosecutor who works for the State’s Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor’s Office


  12. skinnerhater says:

    All I can say is I am like everyone else and think they should rot in hell. Sydney should be with grandparents that will love her and bring her up like a normal child. These people are so cold-hearted. They never move a muscle in the courtroom. Not even when the 2 new counts of murder for hire would read. Can you imagine living in an enviroment like that. Of course what am I talking about………..these people (all of them had a hand in it some way) murdered a young man trying to see his young daughter and trying to give her the love she deserved. JUSTICE FOR STEVEN WATKINS


  13. SPW friends forever says:

    I have been in court and I agree with Skinner Hater for the most part but watching them in court has been different for me. I see them move, laugh and talk amongst themselves. I have seen Shirley blow kisses towards her family as she is brought in handcuffed and winked to them as she was seated I have seen her get hugs from family as she enters and all that we can say is we wish we had that option to hug Steven but they took that away from us the night they took the law into their own hands. I’ve also seen them physically run into family members of Steven Watkins and then laugh as they proceeded down the hallway- what a class act! NOT! These people are evil with a capital E and each and everyone of them know what happened or helped in conspiring to bring a end to Steven’s life. Life will never be the same for those of us who lost Steven and I stand next to Penny and I won’t shut up and stop speaking about this tragic loss and the way Jim Birdsell almost blew the entire case! Sorry if this makes your Daddy look bad but get ready because he’s getting ready to look alot worse!


  14. thinkgoat says:

    Birdsell got Jennifer outside and had a brief discussion. It turned out to be the only time investigators have spoken with anyone who was in the house when Steven was killed.

    Jesus. Then the family was allowed to flee the state, work on their stories, etc. Great job.

    “She told me that he had forced his self in and knocked her grandma down and that she was having heart problems,” Birdsell testified. “And that he was coming after her to take the baby away from her and her grandma shot him.”

    So this young child witnessed her father being shot? And this child is STILL with this family?

    For those of you who have attended the court appearances, has Jennifer been there?


  15. skinnerhater says:

    You know I guess you are right “SPW friends forever says”. But why does the court let that happen?? I really don’t think those things are supposed to happen in a court room. I myself happened to run into Debbie Webster in the restroom. I honestly wanted to throw up on her. She was just so arrogant that it just made me sick. And yes I agree with Thinkgoat why is this child left in the custody of this family. Even if she wasn’t in the same room she was in the house where these people killed her Dad. Hope the Skinner family have a Christmas from HELL!!!!!!!!!!!!! Justice for Steven Watkins


  16. Friend of Steven inChandlerville says:

    As I sit to write this I have to agree with the things wrote above, but please allow me to add somethings. First and foremost I know first hand the Cass County Officers were contacted with information that would have led to an arrest warramt for Skinner in eraly Dec of last Year. Yes with in a month of the murder people who new things went to Sheriff Osmer and officer Bob Fair and they chose not to do anything about it. I have to sit and wonder how they go to sleep at night knowing that they helped a murder stay free. When State police got involved and asked Osmer for his report cause he was there that night ( just watch WICS chanel20 from that night and you will see HIM and BOB FAIR ) he had conviently left out and lost most of it.
    I have also been present in the courtroom and am appauled by Cass County’s lack of respect to the Watkins family!
    The truth is coming in little bits and when it all comes out We all are going to Jump for JOY!! JUSTICE FOR STEVEN !!


  17. skinnerhater says:

    I really do hope that at the hearing tomorrow that the change of venue is not moved out of Cass County. I’m sure there is someone out there that has not heard of this witch. As least the Watkins family will not have to make a trip to Adams County everyday. I am so glad that the people that have bad mouthed Tom and Allen will soon find out that they should shut up!! They really don’t know their ass from a hole in the ground. We’ll see soon who knew what they were talking about and who didn’t. So be ready folks.


  18. skinnerhater says:

    I really hate to hear that the old bitchs trial will be held in Adams county. Should we take out full size ads in the newspapers and tell about her? Wonder if that would do any good? Probably not they would just want to move it again. I really hope that all Cass county citizens(or at least all that haven’t gotten paid off by the Skinner family) will give their support and keep the Watkins family in their Prayers. The Watkins family need all the support that they can get. Maybe by next Christmas the whole Skinner family will be in seperate prisons for life and not be able to see each other forever again like Stevens Mom & Dad will never be able to see him . What kind of Christian people are these.? Isn’t this the number 1 sin that will not be forgivin? Hopefully that means they will rot in hell even if they are never prosecuted. They will be prosecuted by god. ROT IN HELL SKINNERS!!!!!


  19. thinkgoat says:

    What ever they feel they must do to conduct this trial – so be it. It sucks, yes. But hopefully when they’re ALL convicted, they cannot come back and say she didn’t get a fair trial because of a prejudiced jury.

    Their house of cards are tumbling. It’s about fucking time.


  20. SHELLY says:

    AMEN Thinkgoat!


  21. KANDii says:

    Such a usefule blog wow !!!!


  22. standingtall4steven says:

    Thinkgoat, I so wish you could be a fly on the wallin court.You would have a hay day at how Cass County Officer conduct themselves. Jennifer Watkins( I hate to even call her that last name!) was present last week at court for the 1st time. She is so hard to look at. Did you know that Cass County Officers laugh and joke with Skinners attorneys at court, they also allow shirley to wisper and blow kisses, I didnt think this kind of behavior was permitted but again it is Cass County. I pray that all people be held accoutable and this includes Lawinforcement that either with held information or had no clue what to do with. Either way they should be held accoutable also and be stripped of their jobs!!


  23. thinkgoat says:

    StandingTall – I hope to be able to make the drive for her trial – at least a couple of days.

    From here, it has seemed as though the Skinner family’s actions have not been taken seriously. I’ve not only read too many murder stories to count, I’ve written too many as well. Never, have I ever covered something as bizarre and profane as this. From the murderers onto the officials…it’s just all so unbelievable and if it weren’t for having a loving father who’s life was taken by a shot to the back of the head, this dog and pony show might be laughable. Even with a sick sense of humor, I remain repulsed by the inactions of authorities in an area I used to love.


  24. thinkgoat says:

    The murder trial of a Cass County woman charged in the November 2008 shooting death of her granddaughter’s estranged husband could be delayed by a judge’s decision Thursday to disqualify one the attorneys who had been representating her.

    Eighth Circuit Chief Judge Thomas Brownfield granted special prosecutor Michael Vujovich’s motion to disqualify Springfield attorney Dan Fultz from representing Shirley Skinner. The judge said the representation of both Skinner and her granddaughter, Jennifer Watkins, posed “a serious potential for a conflict of interest” if not actual conflict.

    Vujovich argued that Fultz’s representation of both Skinner and Watkins could jeopardize the trial outcome. There could be an appearance of impropriety if jurors learned Fultz is representing not only Skinner, “but also a key prosecution witness, who is also a person who could have committed the crime,” Vujovich said.

    The dual representation could also create an issue of ineffective counsel that could cause a conviction to be set aside, Vujovich said.

    Watkins attended the hearing at Fultz’s request. It was the first time Watkins has appeared at any of the court hearings since her grandmother’s arrest Oct. 5 in Pinellas County, Fla.

    Watkins was in Skinner’s Ashland home when her estranged husband, Steven Watkins, 32, of Chandlerville, was fatally shot in the back of the head Nov. 25, 2008. The Watkinses were due in court the next day for a hearing related to their divorce and custody of their infant daughter.

    Vujovich said Jennifer Watkins will be a key witness to testify what occurred at the time of the shooting, statements made by Skinner, “the contentious nature” of the Watkinses’ divorce proceedings and any motive Skinner might have had to kill Steven Watkins.

    The joint representation would “render him unable to present evidence or suggest to the jury that Jennifer Watkins was the person who shot Steven Watkins, instead of Shirley Skinner, Vujovich said. “To do so would violate his duty of loyalty to Jennifer Watkins,” the prosecutor said in his motion.

    The point was particularly important in this case “because the evidence lends itself to a potential defense claim that someone other than the defendant shot the victim and an evidentiary basis exists for an argument that Jennifer Watkins was the shooter,” he said.

    Fultz argued no conflict existed because of waivers signed by both women.

    He also said Jennifer Watkins would not be telling the jury anything if she was called by the prosecution to testify because he intended to advise her to invoke her Fifth Amendment right — as she did earlier at a grand jury hearing — to prevent self-incrimination.

    “I don’t care if you’re Johnnie Cochran, F. Lee Bailey, Dan Fultz or a first-year law student — you’re going to tell her to take the Fifth Amendment with those facts before them,” Skinner’s other attorney, Jon Gray Noll, said in his argument to the court.

    Without immunity from the prosecutor, Jennifer Watkins will not be telling the jury anything, but that isn’t going to happen, Noll said.

    Fultz sought an advisory opinion from the commission that investigates allegations of misconduct by lawyers and was told “there was no conflict of interest and if a conflict arises it was a waivable conflict,” Fultz told the judge.

    “I have yet to see a trial go as scripted,” said Brownfield, who was sitting in for Judge Mark Schuering, who had a scheduling conflict.

    “It’s the court’s opinion that there is a serious potential for a conflict of interest, if not an actual conflict of interest,” Brownfield said in granting Vujovich’s request.

    Brownfield said those are among four factors the state Supreme Court said trial courts must consider in whether the state has overcome the presumption of the defendant’s right to counsel of choice.

    Skinner was told after the hearing that a Cass County grand jury met Wednesday and amended two earlier indictments handed up in her case. Two charges of solicitation of murder for hire were amended to solicitation of murder. She pleaded not guilty to the amended charges and requested a jury trial, which will be placed on the docket for the same date as her murder trial.

    Skinner’s trial has been moved to Quincy because of pre-trial publicity. A Jan. 25 trial date was set based on Skinner’s demand for a speedy trial, would which would require it to be within 120 days of her Oct. 5 arrest.
    Noll said after the hearing it is not likely she will be tried this month because he wants to do more research before deciding whether to appeal the judge’s decision and because it would be difficult for him to find another co-counsel by then.

    While the judge made a “well-reasoned decision I respectfully disagree with it,” Fultz said. He said he thinks the decision would likely be upheld on appeal, though.

    “The appellate courts have said that judges have substantial latitude in this area,” Fultz said. “… I think he made a good record as to his basis for the ruling.”


  25. SHELLY says:

    New story out today on the Parents of man killed in Ashland want right to visit granddaughter

    .The parents of the late Steven Watkins, center, are seeking a court order granting visitation privileges for their granddaughter, Sidney Watkins, 2, right. Alexandrea Watkins, left, Sidney Watkins’ 10-year-old half-sister, has also not been able to see her sister, according to court documents.

    I hope and Pray they get visitation for now, custody later!


  26. thinkgoat says:

    Me too Shelly. Poke that bitch with a sharp stick all the way to prison.


  27. thinkgoat says:

    The Watkins family breaks their silence and publishes a Letter to the Editor.


    Our lives have been turned upside down. On Nov. 25, 2008 our son, Steven Watkins’ life was taken.

    For six months we lived with wondering how something like this could happen in Cass County and no arrests and no answers.

    Around April or May of 2009 the Illinois State Police was called in. We reported many leads (or rumors) we had heard and asked them to be checked out. Knowing some of the leads had come from Beardstown, we asked that Beardstown Police Chief Tom Schlueter and officer Allen Pherigo to please be involved in following up on these leads, with the idea they would know how to approach the leads.

    In following leads and assisting the ISP, Chief Schlueter and officer Pherigo helped secure statements to assist in the arrest of Shirley Skinner. We learned these same statements had been given to Cass County authorities in Dec. of 2008, and we were told at that time, “those are just rumors,” nothing more.

    We feel it is time to get someone in Cass County office that is willing to step up, step out and step on toes to get the job done! For that reason, Tom Schlueter will be getting our vote.

    Dale and Penny Watkins and family.


  28. thinkgoat says:

    I didn’t want to add my two cents in the same post.

    What.The.Fuck. So Cass County sheriff’s office proves they’re worthless slugs and don’t follow up on leads? Talk about dropping the ball. I find it hard to scream incompetence at this point. That’s negligence. And now the $1 million question: Why?


  29. skinnerhater says:

    it really makes you wonder what kind of officials Cass County has now doesn’t it. Heard today that there is a commercial on a radio station for Bob Fair that says he has made Cass County one of the SAFEST counties in the State of Illinois. Isn’t that the biggest JOKE you have ever heard. How can you make it safe if you and your boss can’t even handle a murder investigation . It really is to bad that this young man Steven Watkins was taken from his children and his family because some psycho bitch was afraid that the father of this beautiful child was going to get overnight visitations. This little girl should have every right as should the grand parents and her half sister to see her and have a life her instead of with this “supposed” to be Christian family. Do Christians murder people? Isn’t that a sin that god do’s not forgive?? And these people try to be so high and mighty? Of course people will argue that no one has been convicted but they were the only people in the house . So we know that one of committed that sin. So to the Skinner family we are sure of one thing and we don’t have to wait for a trial. We all know that your family is going to “ROT IN HELL” And to Penny and Dale you are in our prayers and in our hearts. Good luck.


  30. skinnerhater says:

    Thank you shortnsweetpdi if you are talking about the post above. It was from the heart about Steven and his family. How can the Skinner/Webster families profess to be so called Christians?? God will never forgive that sin.!!


  31. […] that was instrumental in blowing out the murder for hire development. Sat on it. In a recent “Letter To The Editor” penned by Dale and Penny Watkins, parents of the slain Steven Watkins, they describe […]


  32. Perspective says:

    I found this article while exploring your site after reading the latest on the Ryan Jones story. This is just yet another example of a family who is arrogant enough to think they are smart enough to get away with murder. The Skinner/Webster family claims to be Christians, they are anything but. They are Christians in the way suicide bombers are Muslims.

    Unfortunately, I am not surprised at all to see this family in this situation. I know Jennifer’s first husband personally, and met her several times while they were married. I can tell you for sure that Jennifer is batshit crazy. I can repeat stories for days about things she did during that marriage that illustrate this. Off the top of my head I remember one time they got into an argument. The subject so minor I can’t even remember what it was, I doubt they can. Jennifer’s (1st) husband went to work, and when he came home, Jennifer had dragged their entertainment center out into the front yard and set it on fire. That’s how she handles a disagreement. Then there was a time when the husband went out on a boat with a friend and the friend’s girlfriend. Jennifer had to work and couldn’t go, so did she tell them “have fun, I’ll see you tonight”? No, instead she called her equally batshit parents to go sit on the bridge overlooking the lake with binoculars and spy to make sure he was not cheating on her. With the friend’s girlfriend. The friend who was on the boat. And that is only the beginning.

    One day she came home from church, and informed her husband that they had been sinning, and from now on, they would only be having sex if the intent was to concieve a child. Missionary position only, and only around the time she was ovulating. They had been married less than a year at this point.

    That story, along with the actions described by the Watkins family after the birth of Sidney, lead me to conclude that Jennifer’s goal in both of her marriages was to become a single mother without “sinning”. She wanted someone to knock her up and then be gone, but she had to be married to him at the time, because she is a “Christian” after all. When Steven Watkins wouldn’t go away like a good little sperm donor, he paid the price with his life.

    Jennifer’s first husband, by refusing to have a child with her, dodged a bullet, both literally and figuratively.


  33. thinkgoat says:

    Thanks for the insightful post, Perspective. And welcome.

    A while back, I posted a “before murder” and “after murder” photo of Jennifer. Whoa. She’s just looks mean as a snake and crazy on top.

    <img src="Image and video hosting by TinyPic” alt=”null” />


    QUINCY — Two men at the center of Shirley Skinner’s solicitation of murder charges said in court Tuesday they either could not recall the conversation that prompted the charge or thought it was joke.

    At a hearing in Adams County Circuit Court, Skinner’s attorneys, Jon Gray Noll and Stuart Shiffman, tried unsuccessfully to get the solicitation of murder charges separated from her murder trial next month.

    Noll argued the solicitation charges should be tried separately because the allegations “sullies our client’s character,” and paint her as “some kind of one-person crime wave,” he said. “They will have attacked her credibility.”

    He also argued there was no evidence to support the solicitation charges.

    Judge Mark Schuering decided that was for a jury to decide.

    Skinner is to be tried on the two counts of solicitation of murder as well as three counts of first-degree murder beginning May 3 in Quincy. Skinner’s trial was moved from Cass County to Quincy because of pre-trial publicity.

    Skinner, 75, is accused of fatally shooting her granddaughter’s estranged husband, Steven Watkins, in Ashland.

    Watkins, 32, of Chandlerville, was shot in the back of his head when he went to Skinner’s home Nov. 25, 2008, to pick up his daughter, Sidney, for a court-ordered visitation. Watkins and his estranged wife, Jennifer Watkins, were to appear in court the next day for a hearing related to the custody of their daughter, who turns 3 in June.

    Skinner is accused of soliciting Leland “Mike” Knott of Beardstown and Donald Russell of Ipava between Aug. 1, 2008, and Nov. 25, 2008, to commit a murder.

    A Cass County grand jury handed up indictments in December against Skinner with two counts of solicitation of murder for hire. The counts were amended to solicitation of murder when the grand jury met in January.

    Both Knott and Russell work for a Beardstown pallet company owned by Skinner’s family.

    Skinner’s attorneys asked the judge to hear the testimony of Knott and Russell, who never took any money from Skinner, to support the defense’s claim there was no evidence to support the solicitation charges.

    Russell said a conversation with Skinner occurred as he and Knott were working on ceiling tiles in the front office, where she answered phones, did bookkeeping and took care of walk-in customers.

    “I can’t remember exactly what she said … something about wanting to hurt somebody. I’m not sure who she was making the statement to,” Russell said.

    When asked by Noll if she was wanting someone hurt or clipped, Russell responded: “I don’t remember how it was said. I took it as somebody being hurt.”

    Russell said he did not take the statement seriously and that Skinner never named the person she wanted to have hurt.

    Special prosecutor Michael Vujovich, noting that Skinner’s husband and son were sitting in the courtroom, asked Russell if he was afraid of losing his job at the Skinners’ business, Triple S Forest Products.

    “No, sir,” Russell responded.

    The prosecutor asked Russell if he recalled telling three Illinois State Police Investigators in October that Skinner wanted someone “hurt, clipped or capped … and that Shirley offered $10,000 to have a person capped?”

    “Yes, sir,” Russell said.

    When Vujovich asked Russell what his understanding of the word “capped” was, Russell responded, “I think it means killed.”

    Russell also acknowledged telling a man in a later conversation that Skinner was not present that he should have paid someone $500 to do it and keep $9,500 for himself. Russell said he was not serious when he made the remark.

    Knott testified he doesn’t remember any conversation with Skinner in the office.

    “I can’t recall them. No I can’t,” he said.

    He said he had been interviewed three times by Illinois State Police investigators.

    Knott said he suffered a massive heart attack two weeks after the initial interviews. He refused to complete the third interview because he had gotten an attorney to represent him, Knott said.

    Vujovich said Knott’s wife had a different recollection. “She said it happened. So if she said it happened, did it happen?” Vujovich asked Knott.

    “I suppose so. If that’s what she said,” Knott responded.

    The prosecutor argued the solicitations of murder were part of a series of ongoing events that started with Steven Watkins filing for divorce.

    “That raised the ire of not only the defendant but the entire clan,” Vujovich argued. “They wanted complete dominance over the life of Sidney Watkins, to the exclusion of the decedent.”

    After learning a judge was probably going to grant Steven Watkins extended visitations with his daughter a private investigator hired by Skinner’s daughter, Debbie Webster, was told he didn’t need to come to Skinner’s house, as planned, the night Steven Watkins died, the prosecutor said.

    “[Skinner] was going to take matters into her own hands, thereby ending his visitation with her great-granddaughter forever,” Vujovich said.


  34. 16yr victim says:

    Hopefully the jury in Quincy will see through the small town political bullshit surrounding this crime and inflict some REAL Justice on these dumbasses….Is there no state agency that oversees these small town/counties police forces?? No accountability for them – other than elections?? A lot of damage and pain can happen in the four years in between – Seems to be an epidemic in that part of Illinois lately that needs to be remedied.


  35. thinkgoat says:

    Jennifer Watkins’ visitation motion denied

    VIRGINIA — The parents of the late Steven Watkins had to divide their attention Thursday between two courtrooms in two counties.

    In Adams County, a jury was being selected for the trial of the Ashland woman accused of killing their son.

    Nine women and three men were chosen along with two female alternates for the jury in the trial of 75-year-old Shirley Skinner, scheduled to start Monday. Skinner is being tried on charges of first-degree murder and solicitation of murder.

    Because of pre-trial publicity, the trial was moved from Cass County to Quincy in Adams County.

    At a hearing Thursday in Cass County, Circuit Judge Bob Hardwick Jr. denied a motion filed by Watkins’ estranged wife, Jennifer Watkins, in which she tried to limit what could be said about a civil proceeding related to visitation between her daughter and the child’s paternal grandparents.

    In December, Steven Watkins’ parents, Dale and Penny Watkins, filed a petition requesting visitation with the granddaughter they have not been able to see since their son’s death 17 months ago.

    Steven Watkins was shot to death Nov. 25, 2008, inside Skinner’s home when he went to pick up his daughter, Sidney, for a court-ordered visitation. His daughter and estranged wife, who is Skinner’s granddaughter, were living with Skinner at the time. The Watkinses were to appear in court the next day for a hearing related to their daughter’s custody.

    Jennifer Watkins asked the court to impose a gag order to bar those involved in the case from commenting about the proceedings, including to the news media and on social media sites such as Facebook.

    The request was sought because “the father’s death has fueled sensational news stories over two years and has included speculative claims as to what might have happened, and headlines concerning rumors of a prior murder-for-hire attempt and other sensationalized stories.” It also said interviews about the visitation matter included the child’s name.

    Roland Cross, an attorney for Jennifer Watkins, said at the hearing that having the girl’s picture and name “bandied about” in the media was not good for her.

    “We need to be cognizant of the little girl and her well-being,” Cross said.

    He said the gag order was not intended to prevent media access to the visitation proceedings.

    “They can print whatever they like,” Cross said. “All we would like [the court] to do is enter an order directing the attorneys and parties in the visitation case from talking to the media.”

    Michael Metnick and Nicole Nelson, attorneys for Dale and Penny Watkins, argued that the motion was unconstitutional because it was overly broad.

    The motion was an indirect restraint on the media because it would prohibit all parties from discussing the case and, in turn, discourage the media from covering the proceedings, Metnick said.

    “The motion is simply a pretext to eliminate any media coverage and quiet public support of the [visitation] proceedings,” he said.

    Jennifer Watkins “neglects to identify that it is not the mere death, but the murder of the minor child’s father that continues to capture media attention and the presently unanswered questions regarding Steven Watkins’ murder that continue to generate news stories,” Metnick said.

    Metnick and Nelson also argued that Jennifer Watkins provided no evidence that her daughter, now 2, has suffered emotional trauma from any public comments surrounding the visitation proceedings.

    The child’s age “prevents her ability to be able to grasp the substance of the proceedings, let alone the public comments and discourse that may or may not take place,” Metnick said.

    Hardwick said the gag order was an extraordinary remedy he was not going to impose.

    “I don’t think it’s required here. Let’s not forget she’s 2,” he said. “She’s probably playing with dolls. She probably doesn’t have any idea what’s going on and probably it’s best she doesn’t.”

    Jennifer Watkins and the child’s paternal grandparents have views about the death of Steven Watkins that they will probably try to impress on her, Hardwick said. As she matures she may have more difficulty understanding the circumstances surrounding her father’s death and the news media accounts may help her reach her own determination, he said.

    The judge added that he hoped the attorneys and parties in the proceeding use “common decency” in discussing the visitation case with the media.

    Hardwick has twice previously rejected requests by Jennifer Watkins’ attorneys to have the grandparents’ visitation petition thrown out. In January, after the first motion to dismiss the petition was denied, a mediator was appointed to help resolve the issue. The court was notified Feb. 18 that mediation was unsuccessful.

    Unless there is a resolution, the case will proceed to a civil trial.

    “I look forward to maybe getting our visitations with Sidney,” Penny Watkins said after the hearing. “It’s kind of like a long, lost part of your family. So we look forward to a reunion.”

    Jennifer Watkins was not present for Thursday’s hearing in Cass County, nor was she present for the jury selection in Adams County, according to her grandmother’s attorney, Jon Gray Noll.


  36. thinkgoat says:

    Shirley Skinner guilty on 3 counts of murder – 2 counts of solicitation.

    As one can imagine, the communities surrounding Ashland are in celebration – posting “Justice for Steven”. Facebook is buzzing and everyone is in full party mode except for little (oxymoron) Kaitlyn Birdsell, daughter of the Ashland Chief of Police whom the media pretty much made the biggest laughing stock in Central IL.

    Big Miss is taking this hard – the conviction. I’m not sure why. People don’t fucking get it. In a Facebook conversation she not once expresses joy that a murderer has been found guilty, instead she calls all this nonsense, and that she’s going to have to delete the person who posted the status because daddy doesn’t want this on her Facebook. But she didn’t go. She won’t either, she’s too much of a drama whore.


    Instead of congratulating this family and the jury for a job well done, beating the odds that her father and Cass County authorities placed for the prosecution, she’s whining about just how hard this has been on her family. I know, I guess we should all just understand. It’s all about her.

    What really baffles me, daddy doesn’t want to see celebration for a convicted murderer on his daughter’s facebook but he doesn’t mind seeing her tits hanging out and reading about her sex life on there? Allllrighty then. Modern families. I just don’t understand them. Big Birdsell offspring, grow the fuck up. You blaming daddy for saying he doesn’t want that stuff on your facebook is no different than the rest of the community talking smack about him.

    Way to go Jennifer Watkins. You hung your grandmother.

    And a heartfelt Congratulations and a sigh of relief for the Watkins family, who stayed strong and dignified through a year and a half of complete hell. A great day in Central Illinois.


  37. Perspective says:

    I really hope Kaitly Birdsell is reading this site, (or at least someone who tells her what’s on it) because
    Hey Kaitlyn!
    Your dad deserves every word people are saying about him because he FUCKED UP A MURDER INVESTIGATION!!! And because of his actions (or lack thereof) the TRUE murderer is running around free enjoying her daughter without a pesky father or paternal grandparents interfering. And she will most likely never be brought to justice because of you father’s incompetence! So get over yourself, because NO ONE feels sorry for your family or what YOU have been through during this case in which a man lost his life, parents lost their son, and two little girls lost their father. If your father had done his job properly, that little girl would be with family who will love and care for her and raise her right, instead of on the run with crazy zealots who will only raise her to be another crazy zealot. Maybe you should think about what THEY have been through, instead of how terrible your life is because people are talking bad about your family. Cry me a river, at least you still HAVE your dad!!!

    I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea from this post. I am over the moon that Shirley Skinner was found guilty today. And I believe she should rot and die in prison, and that her family should never be allowed to visit her. (They might plan another murder, you know) But I truly believe that Jennifer is the one who pulled that trigger. Can two people be convicted for the same murder? I’m not sure of all the legalities, but I don’t think this granny should be allowed to take the rap so her granddaughter can run around free and raise the daughter of the man she murdered.

    As far as I’m concerned, justice has made progress today, but still has not been served. Justice will not fully be served until Jennifer and her parents are all in prison for life and Sydney is with Steven’s parents.


  38. Seriously?! says:

    I hate to tell Kaitlyn, but no one brought up her dead brother or her “cancer” that she supposedly had. She did. Because everything has to be about her, believe me! Something is seriously wrong with her and I don’t mean her “cancer”, must be the drugs.
    How could anyone not be happy for the Watkins Family?? It discussed me that Dale and Penny have no hard feelings against her father and is this is her response. But I am not going to waste anymore time on her because I’ve already wasted enough and that is what she strives for. So anyways, I’d just like to say Congrats to the Watkins Family and I hope they are done prosecuting yet! Great job Thinkgoat! I love reading your articles.


  39. Seriously?! says:

    And that “are” is supposed to be aren’t. I hope they aren’t done prosecuting…….


  40. Resurrection says:

    Birdsell should be in jail along with Shirley and Jennifer. What Birdsell did was beyond a mistake. His actions were criminal. He’s part of a cover-up.


  41. Seriously?! says:

    I totally agree Resurrection


  42. Dave says:

    Perspective, You said EVERYTHING I was thinking! Screw kaitlyn and her dumb father! I say run them out of town along with the skinner/webster clans!


  43. rrad says:

    The disgraced former Ashland Chief of Police posting on here as an “expert” keeps wanting to make Birdsell the goat in this mess. Yes, he did make some mistakes, the biggest of which might have been trusting the former Cass County Sheriff’s offer of help. Whatever happened to Osmer’s trip to Springfield the night of the murder to interview Skinner? Who withheld the information about Skinners solicitation offer? Who was Jennifer Watkins divorce attorney? Who was the last candidate to run against Osmer in a primary? Maybe Birdsell was getting stabbed in the back. And wherever is it stated that the ISP “took over” this investigation. It has always been with Birdsell, but with ISP’s assistance, not the Cass County Sheriff.


  44. thinkgoat says:

    It’ll be extremely interesting if they do any form of pre-sentencing investigation…especially in light of Ed Skinner’s statement to the press. Perhaps this will give Shirley a chance to think some things over…I don’t believe she actually thought she’d be convicted.

    The Watkins family needs to subpoena Ed for their custody hearing and I hope to god the police and prosecution were at his doorstep first thing this morning.

    And I hate to be an alarmist … I’ve covered motherfuckers like this for quite a while … I’ve researched sociopaths who are mirror images of Jennifer … the one thing I’ve screamed from day one: this shell of evil conspired to commit murder on her estranged husband. This despicable female sold her grandmother out when she refused to accept the prosecution’s deal of reduction of bail if the Watkins could see that child…she will stop at NOTHING to keep that precious child from seeing her paternal relatives. Nothing. That child needs to be taken away before the courts rule in favor of the Watkins family or the unthinkable is likely to happen. And if you think I’m blowing smoke, I can point you to hundreds of similar situations where “mothers” will go to the extreme with their children. Love does not replace evil and selfish tendencies. Ever.

    Edit to add: Welcome to Crime Crawlers.


  45. Resurrection says:

    “Cass County Circuit Judge Bob Hardwick Jr. has issued an order appointing the Office of the State’s Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor to handle the investigation and prosecution of the homicide of Steven Watkins nearly six months ago in Ashland, the court confirmed Friday.”

    State law mandates who is in charge of such cases. One agency cannot take over the investigation of another agency unless there is unlawful actions apparent. State doesn’t “trump” county and county doesn’t “trump” municipal. By law, it was Birdsells puppy and he was the one walking it.


  46. youfail says:

    Kaitlyn always has been and always will be an attention whore. You should have been in school with her, she was 20x worse back then. Flirting with teachers, cheating in every class, all because she could get away with it. And now it’s all “Omfg I had cancer!!” Yeah, well shit fucking happens, chick. Glad you’re all right now… but really… stfu. The only person in her whole family that’s decent is her sister. Meg is a genuinely nice person and I wish her well… Kaitlyn can fall off a cliff and take her daddy with her.


  47. fedupinvirginia says:

    Well you should have been in Virginia Fri night of the BBQ! Kaitlyn had the nerve to try and start a fight with a friend of the Watkins Family, she says that everyone misinterupted her facebook post!!
    OMG grow the Fuck Up Kaitlyn and Get a life !!!


  48. thinkgoat says:

    I don’t know the porker but from what I’ve seen via FB interactions, she’s one of the biggest most dramatic attention whores I’ve seen.

    No one misinterpreted her facebook post(s) but you can’t argue it with her because she throws her disjointed words out there, makes a huge scene, cries about having cancer, then deletes everything. She should work on getting her meds regulated and if she’s not on them (prescribed) she sure the hell needs to be. Maybe throw in a water pill here and there for that bloat she’s got going on…


  49. thinkgoat says:

    I bet Shirley starts pursuing a new trial with fervor now that a longer sentence was imposed than prosecution requested! Sucks being you Shirley. As it stands, they’ll be carting your ass out on a gurney.

    Circuit Judge Mark Schuering of Adams County sentenced Skinner to 55 years imprisonment for the first-degree murder of her granddaughter’s estranged husband in November 2008.

    The sentence was 10 years more than that recommended by prosecutors for the slaying.

    The judge said he did not want his signature on a sentencing order with the minimum penalty for the murder.

    Because Skinner, 75, must serve 100 percent of the murder sentence, she would have to live to 130 to see life outside of prison.

    The judge, who presided over the trial held in Quincy because of pre-trial publicity in Cass County, described the killing as “cold-blooded murder” and said he could not disagree with prosecutors’ characterization that it was “an execution.”

    The judge imposed another 30 years for her conviction on two solicitation of murder charges, but will allow all of the sentences to be served at the same time.

    Skinner did not address the court nor did she show any emotion. She was ordered to pay $19,071 restitution for Steven Watkins’ funeral expenses, gravestone and legal expenses for the appointment of his parents as legal guardians for his 10-year-old daughter, Alex, from a previous relationship.

    Before imposing the sentencing, the judge denied Skinner’s request for a new trial. Her attorney, Jon Gray Noll of Springfield, said he filed the motions to set the stage for an appeal.



  50. crtial_rn says:

    I was pleased to hear that something went right for the Watkins family. I only wish that with that guilty verdict, it would have brought Steve back to the family. Only in an idealic world.

    I am sure that he is looking down on his family with pride on how they handled themselves thru this entire debacle of the justice system starting with and squarely on Birdsell’s shoulders. The fact that his parents have stated that they hold no ill will against Birdsell proves that there are wonderful and decent God fearing people in this world. I honestly do not think I could ever stand on the same pedestal with them. I would probably harbour resentment for the rest of my life. Oh, wait a minute, I already do, but that is a different story.
    The Skinner family has alot to be ashamed of right now. Jennifer primarily for putting the murder squarely on her grandmothers elderly shoulders. How the fuck in their right mind makes their grandma take the wrap for something that will without a doubt care a prison sentence? Oh yeah, that crazy bitch Jennifer. I think any man with a penis and that doesn’t wear kevlar better pain attention and stear clear of this one. That is unless you can draw your gun faster than she can. I would love to think that there is further investigation into this murder and what took place at that house.

    As parents, we never dream of having to bury our children. Those things happen to “other people”, bad people, you know drug dealers and gang members. Well, unfortunately, it does happen to good, hard working honest people. It happens time and time again and unfortunately always will. As grandparents, we dream of our grandchildren coming to visit us, send us cards and pictures they have drawn at school. We look for them on Halloween and act scared when they giggle, “trick or treat”! We never dream of getting these precious gifts up for school everyday, making lunches, doing parent-teacher conferences, dating, dances, Algebra, and college admission forms. But we as grandparents take on the role of parents over these precious gifts that we have been intrusted with and along with helping them grow up and become good students, church going, productive citizens, we have to share with them the ugly details of what has happened to their daddy and how things went terribly, terribly wrong.

    We can all pray that child will be with the Watkins on a permanent basis. I’m sure we all agree that is where the child needs to be and I hope that justice continues on the current wave and that is what happens. Again, I am sure that we can all agree that that little girl will be able to grow up with her sister in a loving, well-balanced home and will have the best of what their grandparents and family can give them. And with that, I wish them peace.

    I do want to note, that I did live in Alexander for a while and I worked in Ashland and know some of the players involved. I’m sure Steve was not a perfect kid growing up. I’m sure he gave his mom a few grey hairs and maybe caused bad to get some as well. I’m betting he got grounded and had an ass chewing a time or two, after all, that is how we all grow up for the most part. Some of u turn out good and well the others notsomuch.

    I would eat lunch in Ashland, banked in Ashland, go to the grocery store. I had/have family and friends in Chanlerville an kicked around down there and around for years. I have friends in Virginia, worked at the video store there for a while, went to the gas stations, etc. My kids played baseball in Virginia, Chandlerville and Ashland as well as other litle towns. I very well could have bumped into Steve and his family from 1991-2005. That would have put him as a youngster taggin’ along with his daddy or momma to his teen years to adulthood.

    I can honestly say that while he looks familiar, I cannot recollect meeting him but possibly could have bumped into him. That tells me he was your average, well mannered guy. You know the type that opened he door at the gas station for you, a tip of the hat when you say thank you for the polite gesture. He was the little boy that swung his feet at the coffee shop eating his lunch or looking up at his grandparents, daddy or momma with that cute milk mouth grin askng if he could have a donut. You can close your eyes and get a vague picture of a little boy to grown man that I’m talking about. I can honestly see this guy giving a stranger a hand if needed imagine you know, a good ole’ boy that wasn’t perfect but sure as fucking hell would NOT murder someone. There is no fuckin’ reason this young man who was well thought of in the community and obviously a very dedicated daddy, to take a gun blast to the back of the head. Fucking cowards way. You wanna shoot me, look me in the eye. Steve was not one of those drunken bastards that beat his woman and drug her around by the hair like some fucking Neandrethal. He was like any other stand up citizen, contributing to society and bein’ a daddy to two precious little girls.

    Steven, rest assured that your parents and family will NOT let them babies forget you. They will pull out all stops and get Sidney and raise her as well for you, because that is what parents do for their child. They will make sure that crazy, evil bitch and a few other explecetives has no control over that child. I think we can all see that fight coming. Steve, you can now kick back and relax, the hard part is over and trust me when I say, you will never be forgotten and will be in the communities hearts for years to come. You have left an indelible mark on people you came into contact with before and after your death.



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