september 29 1986


15-year-old Sandy Shaw was continually harassed by 21-year-old James “Cotton” Kelly, who kept trying to persuade her to pose for seductive photographs. This was in 1986, before there were any stalking laws, and even though Sandy’s mother contacted authorities, they claimed that nothing could be done to stop this incessant harassment. Fed up, Sandy turned to her friend, 18-year-old Troy Kell, and asked him if he could drive James out to the desert and scare him into leaving her alone. 

On 29 September, 1986, Sandy and Troy drove Kelly out to the desert and to Sandy’s apparent shock, Troy produced a gun and shot James six times in the face. It was alleged that in the following days, Sandy brought some of her friends out to view the corpse. One friend alerted the authorities who arrested the teenagers. This infamous case became known in the media as the “Show and Tell Murder.”  

Troy and Sandy were both sentenced to life imprisonment even though Sandy always claimed she never knew Troy was going to kill James. Years later, a friend of Sandy’s confessed that it was him who took people out to view the corpse and that Sandy wasn’t there at the time and had no idea he had done it. Sandy always appeared genuinely remorseful for the crime and her life sentence was commuted and she was paroled in 2007. Troy, on the other hand, brutally murdered another inmate in 1994 and was sentenced to die by firing squad.