1982 PA crimes similar to alleged W MI assault

Shawn James Jarrett

FARRELL, Pa. (WOOD) — Shawn Jarrett’s criminal record shows he appears to have a pattern.

Jarrett is suspected in the Walker murder of Berta Yolanda Reyes, though he doesn’t currently face any charges in the case. But he’s behind bars in the Kent County jail because he is charged in the separate sexual assault of an 85-year-old Grandville woman. He allegedly talked his way into her house before attacking her.

When asked about the sexual assault charges, Jarrett told 24 Hour News 8 in a jailhouse interview on Friday, “This is no circus, you know what I mean? I’m tired of talking to people. I’m just getting railroaded and I’m just tired of this.”

Berta Yolanda Reyes (Family courtesy photo)
(Berta Yolanda Reyes. Family courtesy photo)

Jarrett also spent three decades behind bars in Pennsylvania.

The neighborhood in Farrell, Pa. Jarrett grew up in is generally quiet and safe, and it was that way in the early 1980s, too, neighbors said.

Mary Liz Maroco, who still lives in Farrell, is a retired teacher from Farrell High School, which Jarrett attended. She remembers young Jarrett because she was also his neighbor. She lived across from him for about 10 years.

“He was a quiet individual. His eyes always looked like they were somewhere else,” Maroco said. “His eyes let you know that something was wrong. He just had that faraway stare.”

He wasn’t overly friendly or anything like that.”

She never had him in class because Jarrett was in what was then called the special education class. His teacher’s aide was 64-year-old Mary Sposito.

“They were neighbors, good friends and he did yard work for them or other jobs in the house. And I guess he went in and out of the house,” Maroco recalled. “She loved the kids she worked with. She was like a grandmother to them, and enjoyed it. That’s what made this whole thing so sad.”

In early 1982, Jarrett raped and murdered Sposito in the house where she lived alone.

In March of that year, there was more commotion in the neighborhood.

“All of a sudden, we saw all of these police cars and sheriff’s cars and state police descending on the corner house up there,” Maroco said. “Police started getting out. They all had big guns and rifles, and there was a gun trained on every door and window of the house.”

Maroco remembers it well because, she says, the neighborhood is usually so quiet.

“We didn’t know what going on, because the people living there were very nice people,” she said.

Eventually, Jarrett was led out of the house in handcuffs.

He had ridden his bicycle to the nearby town of Sharon, used a ruse to slip into a 58-year-old woman’s house and then choked her. He was scared off when the woman’s daughter returned home.

He was 18 at the time.

“It’s not like he came from another country another city and he was a stranger, so that’s what the shock was,” Maroco asid.

Jarrett spent 30 years in a Pennsylvania prison for the murder before being released on Dec. 31, 2012.

He lived for a time in Ohio, where his parents moved after he was imprisoned, before coming to West Michigan.

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