CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Transcripts connected to the Kanawha County sniper investigation still indicate that at least one body may be buried under Sissonville property that police thoroughly investigated and was owned by men believed to be involved in the triple killings in 2003.
Last year, a day before Shawn Thomas Lester was arrested in connection to the murder of Jeanie Patton, Charleston Police detectives interrogated Rodney "Little Rod" Shaffer II, one of the men who were reportedly with Lester when Patton was gunned down at a Campbells Creek convenience store.
During the interrogation, Charleston Police Lt. Steve Cooper told Shaffer that detectives believed there were "four total" people who were killed around the same time of the sniper slayings. Cooper, along with Det. Chris Powell, questioned Shaffer about whether bodies were buried under his acres-large property in Sissonville, off of Hughart Drive.
"You ever heard about anybody being buried on your alls property up there?" Cooper asked.
At first, Shaffer denied hearing any rumors, but when pressed, said that his father, Rodney Preston "Big Rod" Shaffer used to say that, "I'd bury any [expletive] body if I had the chance."
Shaffer also indicated that he'd heard that someone might have been buried on the property inside a vehicle.
"I've heard people talk about if they brought somebody up there in a vehicle [they] would bury them or something," he said, later adding, "If you are trying to click something to make me remember, it ain't working."
On Monday, Lester pleaded guilty to second degree murder charges linked to Patton's death, but did not admit that he pulled the trigger of the scoped .22 Magnum caliber Marlin believed to be the murder weapon.
As part of the plea, Lester also did not admit culpability in the murders of Gary Carrier Jr., and Okey Meadows Jr., who were shot and killed outside of separate convenience stores. Prosecutors believe Lester killed Carrier and Patton in retaliation for the theft of an engine block filled with several pounds of rare, pink methamphetamine worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The meth belonged to a Mexican national named Gilberto "Tito" Lopez Reyna, who operated a multimillion-dollar drug enterprise stretching from Kanawha County to Elkhart, Ind. Police say Lester's Rutledge Road garage served as a front for that drug operation.
Cooper said this week that Lester killed Meadows at random to throw off the investigation.
Both "Big Rod" and "Little Rod" Shaffer were sitting in a green Ford Bronco with Lester at the scene of Patton's murder, authorities say. "Big Rod" Shaffer died in 2008. The younger Shaffer, who is currently in jail on a separate charge, has signed a plea agreement admitting to conspiracy charges.
On March 28, 2011, two days before Lester was arrested in connection to Patton's murder, investigators obtained a search warrant for Shaffer's residence. According to the warrant, police believed a Dodge pickup truck, used in at least one of the three killings, along with the murder weapon, was buried under the property.
Police used an excavator to dig up portions of property and tear Shaffer's home -- two trailers bolted and welded together -- in half. The truck was never recovered, but police confiscated an arsenal of dozens of rifles, shotguns and handguns from "Big Rod" Shaffer's gun safe. Police believe that the weapon Lester allegedly used in the sniper killings was destroyed in a car crusher.