Karly’s Killer Dead

 

 

Shawn Wesley Field is dead.

He passed away at Eastern Oregon Correctional Institute in Pendleton, Oregon.

Shawn did not die an easy death, but it was a much easier death than the one he inflicted upon three-year-old Karly Sheehan, of Corvallis, Oregon.

The jury ruled Shawn had tortured Karly prior to her death.

We will never know why Shawn Field killed Karly. He had a daughter of  his own. C. Field may have been the only person Shawn ever loved more than himself. She paid him a visit in prison this week, to celebrate his birthday. His parents, Hugh and Ann Field, haven’t visited their son in years.

Shawn had cancer. He also had AIDS, had it before he was in prison. Shawn Field was bi-sexual. I suspect he was a gay man, posing. Shawn came from a fundamentalist, legalistic home where being gay would have likely got him cut off financially from his inheritance and the lifestyle he so enjoyed.

At his core, Shawn Field was lazy. He wanted the good life, but never wanted to work for it. He would do anything to keep his gay relationships a secret, do anything to keep his parents funding his lifestyle, including kill for it.

I tried numerous times to interview Shawn Field. He always refused.

He insisted that he did not kill Karly Sheehan. He had no idea who did, even though he was the only person with Karly that day, other than Sarah.

Shawn Field went to his death claiming he had been the person wronged. He lived his whole life like that – with a sense of entitlement and a sense of everyone doing him wrong. I have letters from people who have known Shawn since he was a young boy and they all say pretty much the same thing – Shawn was mean. He was especially disrespectful to his mother. He thought he was better than everyone else. He maintained an air of arrogance all of his adult life.

Old girlfriends tell of the nightmares they still endure because of Shawn. I don’t think Shawn’s death will relieve the nightmares those women suffer.

Shawn’s death will not likely make life better for his daughter. C.Field has been the other true victim of Shawn’s. Everyone says C. Field is beautiful and bright young lady now. Her momma put her in therapy after Karly’s death. Anyone in the Benton County Courthouse who heard that then-elementary-school girl testify knows that C. Field felt guilt over Karly’s death.

Karly had been like a little sister to C. Field. She loved Karly. How does a therapist explain to a child that they are not responsible for the murder of another child? How does C. Field find the grace to forgive herself from something she needs no forgiveness from? She didn’t kill Karly. She was a little girl. She couldn’t have stopped Karly’s death if she had stormed into the living room with a baseball bat and beat her dad that night. Such an action would have likely only resulted in C. Field putting her own life at risk.

Her father was a sick man. Perhaps his sickness was the result of having to hide his true self. Maybe Shawn Field was gay and simply couldn’t risk being cut off from the family inheritance by coming out.  Maybe he couldn’t come out because he was afraid of his own father’s wrath. Maybe he couldn’t come out because he couldn’t face his own truth.

Maybe his sexuality had nothing to do with why he tortured Karly Sheehan.  Maybe Shawn Field  had just given himself over to evil. Maybe Shawn Field liked the power evilness afforded him.

We will never know because Shawn Field, unlike Ted Bundy, never could own up to the truth of who he was and what he did.

His death will not restore all that Shawn Field took from David Sheehan and from the entire Sheehan clan, though, perhaps, they will find some measure of grace in knowing that the man who did those terrible things to Karly is now himself going to have to answer to a much higher court than the one he faced here on earth.

Shawn Field died a grim death, but his suffering, for all we know, may have just begun.

I can’t bring myself to ask God to have mercy on his soul.

I want God to bring justice for the torture and murder of Karly Sheehan.

You might want that, too, if you had seen the photos of Karly post-mortem as I did.

Justice is  one of those characteristics of God that we like least. It makes him seem unloving, unforgiving. As if mercy and justice were somehow polar opposites of each other.

But they are not.

Only a just God can grant mercy. It wouldn’t be mercy, otherwise.

Think of the men and women you know who treat others justly. Are  they not usually some of the most merciful and loving people, you know?

When people are dealt with justly, there is no cause to seek revenge.

Shawn Field is dead.

His death brings me no sense of joy, no sense of relief, no sense of satisfaction. The feeling that I have most when I think of Shawn Field is one of overwhelming darkness. Evil embodied.

I wish there had never been a reason to know his name.

 

Karen Spears Zacharias is author of Karly Sheehan: True Crime Story Behind Karly’s Law.

Shawn Field. HiRes

The day of Karly’s murder

 

 

Book Karen

Karen Spears Zacharias

Author. Gold Star Daughter. Trump will never be my president.

28 Comments

Liz Doyle

about 2 years ago

Love you Karen. May God grant you His peace today. Crying for Karly is good. Evil exists. We know it. May we always seek righteousness for the unprotected.

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Carrie

about 2 years ago

Amen.

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Jannett

about 2 years ago

Where exactly did you get the information about him having aids? And did you just make assumptions about a "secret gay life" based on it?

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Karen Spears Zacharias

about 2 years ago

The secret gay life is well-documented in police reports. His attorney actually referred me to the documents. Have you read Karly's story? If you did, then you should be able to reference that.

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lisa phillips

about 2 years ago

His computer had gay porn on it....

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Cassandra Benefield

about 2 years ago

Ms. Zacharias- I just read Silence of the Mockingbirds. It was very impactful. Thank you for your courage to write it. One thing that struck me as I read it and as I reflect on it now is how his parents are dealing with this ... I think their tale is just as tragic. Don't get me wrong the tragedy is Karly's and her father's truly. But I can't help thinking that there is a story in the Fields family too. So sad. Sin is so destructive. You did a great job in your memoir. Just enough detail to not be sensationalistic. Thank you. I look forward to reading more of your work.

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Karen Spears Zacharias

about 2 years ago

Ms. Benefield: Thank you for reading Karly Sheehan's story (Kindle title). I understand your sentiment regarding Shawn's parents. They have been dealt an awful blow. And, now, Shawn's daughter is their only legacy for the future. I can't imagine how difficult their lives must be, watching two sons die in ways they never anticipated. I do know from a friend who stays in touch with them that their faith has been their comfort. There isn't anyway, however, that as a parent you wouldn't question your every decision, wouldn't find something to blame yourself for. I wish them only peace. We do the best we can as parents, but ultimately sin is a personal choice.

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Becky Bradshaw

about 2 years ago

5036 Ziklag Place Karen, just finished the book. My heart is breaking, but I feel everyone needs to be aware of child abuse in this country. Thank you so graciously for writing this story of Karly. I feel in love with her. Hated Shawn for what we all know he did. The mother, Sarah is a pathological liar and probably has a personality disorder. Oh she knew. Esp the last day of Karly's life she saw her and did nothing but clean baseboard. I am glad she's now with Jesus.......Can't imagine David getting on a jet plane to go back to Ireland without Karly.

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Karen Spears Zacharias

about 2 years ago

Becky: Thank you for reading Karly's story. I hope you will encourage others to read it as well. Learning to understand all the failures that led to Karly's murder can help prevent this happening to another child. Thank you for braving the story and for sharing your kind words with me.

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salma zaman

about 1 year ago

I read karlys story and as another reader said fell totally in love with her. I'm just in total shock cannot get her face or her words out of my head. I have a three yr old daughter myself and I keep putting myself in David's position an god bless him cannot imagine how he coped. I am shocked that the mother let it happen but ultimately karly got heaven an the monster will suffer.

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Bekki

about 9 months ago

Was he murdered.

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Karen Spears Zacharias

about 9 months ago

No. He died of diseases.

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Karen Spears Zacharias

about 9 months ago

No.

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Jim

about 4 months ago

I read Karly's Story and could not believe that someone who calls himself a man could inflict so much pain upon a child. I have read many true crime books, and this one was one of the most shocking. Shawn was not "sick"; he was evil. I am a CASA volunteer, which makes me the voice of the child who has no voice. I talk to parents, foster parents, teachers, etc., but most of all, I talk to the kids. I make reports and attend court hearings to give recommendations to the judge. One of the kids in my care right now is three years old, and I can't imaging anyone doing to her what was done to Karly. Yes, many people failed to make the right connections, but the blame lies with Shawn. He is the one who failed little Karly. I'm glad he is gone.

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Karen Spears Zacharias

about 4 months ago

Jim: thank you for reading Karly's story and thank you for being a CASA volunteer. My husband is also a CASA volunteer so I understand what CASA does and the commitment required. Karly's story continues to help educate people to the blind spots that allow such abuses to continue. We all must be diligent in our efforts to protect children. And we must work in a legislative way to not just issue mandates but to fund them. We will never understand why Shawn did what he did, but that's probably a good thing. To understand evil is to become a party to it.

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Sandy allen

about 4 months ago

I didn't know Shaun died until now. He got off easy. Thank you so much for the awareness you've provided to child abuse. I think it's our most egregious sin. I lost a son to cancer, and cannot imagine losing a child to abuse. I know we're told to forgive, but . . . I hope Shaun didn't expose others to AIDS, but there's no reason to believe he would have been that thoughtful. Shaun is already forgotten--only the pain he inflicted on others will be remembered. Karly will live in our hearts forever and ever!

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Karen Spears Zacharias

about 4 months ago

Sandy: Thank you for writing.I am so sorry about the loss of your son. The death of any child is too much for any loving parent to deal with. Prayers for you especially during this season. Thank you for sharing Karly's story with others. She continues to be a guiding light in our lives.

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Gail Merrill

about 4 months ago

Karen: I just finished reading your book about Karly. I so wished David got more help to protect his daughter. Perhaps pursued sole custody? Karly's mother sounds so cruel. And she didn't stop. Sooooo sad for Karly! Gail

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Karen Spears Zacharias

about 4 months ago

Thank you Gail for reading Karly's story. And yes, there are so many, me included, who wished that things had been done differently. It is easy in hindsight to see where the mistakes were made, but when these investigations and relationships are ongoing it is so easy to persuade one's self to take the path that leads to destruction. If only Sarah hadn't been such a willing participant, if only she had kept Karly from Shawn as she told the courts she was doing. So many wrong turns. So much at stake. So much loss to the world without Karly in it.

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Gail Merrill

about 4 months ago

I have to say, I was shocked to learn that the man that killed Karly is dead. He can never again be cruel to anyone else.

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Karen Spears Zacharias

about 4 months ago

Yes. He died a painful death himself but not nearly as painful as the one he inflicted upon Karly.

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Karen Lisa Dagnan

about 3 months ago

I just hope Sarah never, ever has children. She most definitely has a personality disorder and should not reproduce! She is the type of person who leaves hurt and destruction where ever she goes........ I really enjoyed your well written and heartbreaking story. I love the books written by Ann Rule but she was never "related" to any of the perpetrators! Heartfelt!!

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Karen Spears Zacharias

about 3 months ago

Thank you. I appreciate you reading it. I have other books out. I hope you'll consider reading them.

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Karen Spears Zacharias

about 2 months ago

To my knowledge Sarah has had no more children. I agree. I hope she never does.

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Anna

about 2 months ago

Book's effectiveness greatly diminished by illogical insistence on a loving God. Why limit yourself this way. You have potential to be a really fine crime writer. The god stuff is weird and hard to read around to get a true story.

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Karen Spears Zacharias

about 2 months ago

Thank you, Anna. I understand what you are saying. It's complicated. Just like on the political forefront right now, there can be no denying the part that religion played in this story.

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Gail Dailey

about 3 days ago

I just finished reading your book and have a question for you: Didn't Sarah present herself as a child abuse advocate and went public with "her story", to further add insult to Karly's death as Sarah sought attention, not for Karly's horrible circumstances but to gain sympathy from the public as the infamous "victim" of Shawn Fields, thereby making once again it "all about her" ?

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Karen Spears Zacharias

about 2 days ago

Yes, Gail. She started a "non-profit" Karly's Angels, solicited money in her daughter's name, won awards for her so-called "work" on behalf of abused children. Whatever became of all those funds only Sarah knows.

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