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Second man involved in Musselwhite murder sentenced

By Shavonne Potts
spotts@salisburypost.com
A man who testified against his best friend will serve more than 20 years in prison for his involvement in the 2006 beating death of Jimmie Edgar Musselwhite.
Joshua Lee Shaffer, 25, pleaded guilty Tuesday in Rowan Superior Court. He was sentenced to between 19.7 years and 25 years in prison.
Prosecutors reached a plea agreement with Shaffer, reducing his first-degree murder charge to second-degree. He was also convicted of robbery with a dangerous weapon, breaking and entering and felony larceny.
Shaffer testified in court in August against childhood friend Bradley Paul Blymyer, 25, saying Blymyer hit 62-year-old Musselwhite over the head with a baseball bat, stabbed him repeatedly and cut his throat.
Shaffer said on the stand he hit the man twice with the bat, which belonged to Musselwhite, and then he left the room. He contends Blymyer continued to assault Musselwhite, inflicting injuries that led to his death.
Shaffer admitted to a prescription pill addiction. He and Blymyer went to Musselwhite’s home to get pills “one way or another,” he told jurors.
Sherry Ritter, Musselwhite’s only daughter, said she was appreciative of Shaffer’s testimony, but it didn’t ease the loss of her father.
“My dad was a good man. It seems like a waste,” she said.
Musselwhite was a textile worker. He’d been trying to hold on until he had leg surgery, Ritter said.
He’d been in pain from previous surgeries.
“He was a man who worked hard his whole life,” she said.
Ritter told the court her husband had died and then her father.
“I’m sorry for everything that happened. I never meant for it to go as far as it did,” Shaffer said.
Trial evidence revealed just how far it went. The two went to Musselwhite’s Verlen Drive home, near Bostian Heights, to buy pills.
When Musselwhite refused to sell pills to them, Shaffer made him get on the floor and hit him over the head with a Louisville Slugger, which Musselwhite kept for protection.
Shaffer said he instructed Blymyer to tie the man up. While he was being bound, Shaffer went into a back bedroom to look for more valuables.
He’d taken cash and pills from the man. When he returned, he testified, Blymyer was standing over Musselwhite.
Musselwhite had been hit at least five times over the head. His throat was cut and he was stabbed in the neck about nine times, autopsy reports confirmed.
The tip of a latex glove was found caught on a piece of duct tape used to bind Musselwhite’s hands behind his back. Investigators found Blymyer’s DNA on the glove.
The next day, the two robbed one of Blymyer’s neighbors.
During Blymyer’s trial, Shaffer and others testified that he and Blymyer robbed three homes. The two used the money to buy pills.
Shaffer left town immediately and Blymyer left a few weeks later.
Shaffer told investigators he did not know Musselwhite had been stabbed until his defense attorney told him.
He will receive credit for the two years he spent in the Rowan County jail awaiting trial.
Prosecutors recommended that Shaffer get work release, if he qualified. He was also ordered to pay $10,692.19 in restitution to the robbery victims.
Rowan County Superior Court Judge Erwin Spainhour said he appreciated Shaffer’s truthful testimony. He also praised the district attorney’s office for working with the defense to reach the plea agreement.
The maximum sentence Shaffer could have received was 73 years in prison.

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