An Acton man was handed a 40-year prison sentence Friday for the second-degree murder of Christopher Demyen as several family members provided tearful testimony at his killer’s sentencing hearing in Lancaster.
Scott Shipley, 57, of Acton, was found guilty back in April, after a brief trial.
“I think that the verdict reached by the jury was the correct and just verdict and the sentence that the defendant received was just,” said Tom Trainor, deputy district attorney for Los Angeles County. “While no sentence can ever bring Demyen back to his family, this can hopefully provide them with some finality in this chapter of their life.”
The second-degree murder charge means Shipley would have to serve 25 years of a life sentence before he’s eligible for parole. An additional 15 years to life was a result of the charge that he used a gun to commit the crime is to be served consecutively, which means Shipley would have to serve at least 85 percent of those 40 years of his sentence before he’s eligible for release.
The murder on Eagle Butte Road in Acton
Shipley was headed toward his house on the 1300 block of Eagle Butte Road, where he saw an Acton Water Company truck parked in front of a neighbor’s house filling up a pool, according to a statement from the District Attorney’s Office.
Shipley called Demyen, owner of the Acton Water Company, to complain, and the two got into an argument after Demyen arrived on scene.
Shipley told Demyen he would be leaving his truck to block the company truck and walked to his house where he retrieved a gun, according to testimony during trial, according to the neighbor who owned the pool and witnessed the whole altercation.
Shipley reportedly told Demyen, “Hit me and see what you get.” Shipley then pushed Demyen, a fight ensued and Shipley pulled out the gun and shot the victim in the chest, the prosecutor said.
Impact statement from the murder victim’s family
Five family members made impact statements in court Friday, Trainor said.
Speaking on behalf of the family was: Demyen’s wife, Amber; his niece, Jessica; his nephew, Aaron; and his mother, Jean Demyen. All gave emotional testimony about their loss.
“(Jean Demyen) got up to speak, but couldn’t really get past, ‘I’m the mother of Christopher Demyen,’ and she was unable to continue,” Trainor said, “so someone stepped into read her prepared statement.”
Amber Demyen was six months pregnant when the murder occurred, and later gave birth to the couple’s daughter, Christelle, who was a stillborn at nine months.
“(Amber’s pregnancy) was a topic that was touched upon by most, if not all of the people who spoke today,” Trainor said, noting it was the couple’s third child.
Christopher Demyen was buried at Eternal Valley on May 30, 2013.
A Go Fund Me page was set up to help the family with costs. It raised several hundred dollars more than the page’s $30,000 goal.