Stepmother: Jarrett has mental demons

Shawn James Jarrett

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) – The stepmother of a convicted murderer and suspect in West Michigan crimes recalls him getting into trouble at a young age.

Shawn Jarrett is charged with the sexual assault of an 85-year-old Grandville woman and is the suspect in the murder of Berta Yolanda Reyes.

In the early 1980s, Shawn Jarrett was convicted of raping and murdering a 64-year-old woman and attacking another woman in Pennsylvania. He spent 30 years in prison and was released in 2012.

Shawn Jarrett spoke to News 8 from jail Friday, but didn’t have much to say.

“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,” said Jarrett.

Mary Jarrett, Shawn Jarrett’s stepmother, spoke with 24 News 8’s Steve Kelso to give some insight into the mind of Shawn Jarrett.

Mary Jarrett married Shawn Jarrett’s father when Shawn Jarrett was 9-years-old. She said Shawn Jarrett lived with his biological mother for most of the time, but does recall trouble at an early age when he was caught peeking into a neighbor’s windows.

Mary Jarrett says his family sought treatment for his mental issues, but there was little improvement. She says the State of Pennsylvania is partially to blame for the latest accusations.

“I do feel if the State of Pennsylvania had guarded him more carefully before releasing him into society and throwing him out there this 85-year-old lay would not have been raped,” said Mary Jarrett. “There’s a mental illness there, he is mentally ill, we know that. Maybe now he can get some help. Maybe now he can free himself from those mental demons that so desperately plague him.”

Mary Jarrett says her stepson moved to Michigan hoping to rekindle a relationship with a high school sweetheart and because he was able to get a job here.

She say no matter what happens in court, Shawn Jarrett needs help.

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