Prosecutors decide against seeking death penalty against Republic teenager in murder case

Trystan Westrip

NEAR STRAFFORD, Mo. -- Prosecutors say they will seek a life sentence without the possiblity for parole for a Republic teenager accused of murdering a woman in Strafford.

Trystan Westrip, 17, is accused of stabbing Mary Shisler, 80, six times in the back of the head last October at her rural home. Detectives say he then tried to burn her home to the ground. Westrip is charged with first-degree murder, armed criminal action, first-degree tampering with a motor vehicle, and second-degree attempted arson.

Investigators say a neighbor called 911 on Oct. 21 after finding a strange car in the driveway of Shisler’s home on Farm Road 223, seeing that Shisler’s pickup was not there, finding the back door open, smelling propane or gasoline, and finding the home ransacked.

Deputies arrived, did a quick search, smelled “the strong odor of some type of fuel or accelerant,” and didn’t find Shisler in the home. They found a bottle of lighter fluid on the kitchen table, and “some toilet paper with a match sticking up from it also on the table. On the way out of the residence, deputies located two spots of possible blood on the inside of the door, near the door handle,” the probable cause statement says.

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