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Authorities warn Howland residents to be on guard after murderer moves in

Published: Mon, January 14, 2013 @ 12:00 a.m.

Ex-Pa. prisoner convicted of murder in early ’80s to reside with his parents in Howland




Dan Reger, left, has known convicted murderer Shawn Jarrett’s mother and father for 15 years. Now that he’ll be a neighbor of Shawn’s, he said he believes in giving him a chance.

By Ed Runyan



People are released from prison every day, but it’s not every day a convicted murderer moves into your neighborhood.

And as far as James Epstein, former Mercer County, Pa., district attorney is concerned, Shawn Jarrett, 49, isn’t just any ex-con.

“There are certain cases you remember, and this is one of them,” he said of Jarrett’s murder of his next-door neighbor, Mary Sposito, 64, in March 1982 in Farrell, Pa., and an attack on a 58-year-old woman two months later in her Sharon home.

“I recall the case because of the unprovoked, extremely violent attacks on two innocent victims,” Epstein said.

And to Paul Monroe, Howland police chief, the release of Jarrett two weeks ago from the Pennsylvania prison system to live with his parents on Dawson Drive in Howland was unusual because authorities took the time to alert him.

“What is unique is we very rarely get notified by another jurisdiction of a person’s violent, homicidal tendencies, and he came into our township,” Monroe said.

“Do we have concerns? Absolutely. Our office was made aware of it and told to be on alert for anything suspicious,” he added.

Word has gotten out to the residents of Dawson Drive, which is off state Route 46 just north of Eastwood Mall.

Many of the residents who were asked about Jarrett declined to be interviewed, some saying, “I have kids.”

One man, who declined to be identified, said he doesn’t know what to think because he doesn’t know much about Jarrett.

“I think everybody deserves a second chance. Hopefully, things will work out. My only fear is someone who’s been locked up that long coming out,” he said.

Another neighbor, Dan Reger, who has known Jarrett’s mother and father for 15 years, said he believes in giving their son a chance.

“I know John and Joyce. They’re good people,” Reger said of Jarrett’s parents. “Everybody deserves a break once in a while.”

As for Jarrett moving into the neighborhood, Reger said, “It’s OK,” adding, “I was brought up to be a neighbor. To each his own.”

But he won’t be forgiving if Shawn Jarrett does something to indicate that he can’t be trusted, Reger said.

According to Vindicator files, Jarrett killed Sposito, the widow of former Farrell Police Chief John Sposito, at her house on Roemer Boulevard, where she lived alone.

Police said Jarrett killed the woman by strangling her but also stabbed her in the back with a paring knife.

He told a judge in 1983 he didn’t know why he killed Sposito.

In the Sharon attack, Jarrett was choking his victim when her daughter came into the house and frightened him away, according to Vindicator files.

Jarrett was serving a prison sentence in the Sharon choking offense when he was convicted of the murder, which was a tougher case to solve, Epstein said.

Jarrett, then 19, pleaded guilty to third-degree murder in the Sposito case, a crime that didn’t qualify for the death penalty.

Jarrett received 10- to 20-year sentences in both crimes, but a judge granted Jarrett parole in the Sharon choking after 10 years. He served the entire 20 years for the murder.

Jarrett is not on parole and is not required to report to any law-enforcement officials. But a team of officers and prosecutors, along with Jarrett’s prison psychologist, visited Jarrett in prison before his release, and Jarrett agreed to allow authorities to check in on him from time to time, Epstein said.

Monroe said he believes people should be wary of Jarrett the same way they would be wary of any new neighbor.

“With anybody who moves into your neighborhood, you should have your eyes wide open and watch for anything the person may do that is unusual or suspicious,” Monroe said.

“One should consider historical events surrounding the person and educate themselves and maybe do their own checking. I personally like to make my own judgments.”

When a Vindicator reporter knocked on the door at the Jarrett residence and identified himself, a woman said she didn’t want to talk.


1saddad(655 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

Whos in the photo? Is that Jerrett? Does he have anything to say? Typical Vindy article

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2excel(1307 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

The lure of the night life in Waren may be too much for Shawn Jarrett to overcome.

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3lee(544 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

Not counting he is out of jail why is he even breathing he should be dead he was convicted of murder.

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4Sumpintasay(55 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

I don't believe murderers should ever be paroled or serve a sentence less than life. If you take away someones life, then yours should be taken away as well. Mrs Sposito's family will never have her back like Jarretts family has him back. He should have rotted within those cell walls.

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5whitesabbath(738 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

And if you speed take away your drivers permit for life , Sumpin

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6Sumpintasay(55 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

whitesabbath, you're a friggen genius! Because speeding is so comparable to murder! When I speed, I get a ticket and have to pay a fine. For every action there is a reaction. the reaction to speeding is a fine. The reaction to murder should be 20 years and out to do it again??? Holy cow!! You are the reason they call us bleeding heart liberals! He cold blooded murdered her and didn't know why. He even said he didn't know why he did it. He just felt like it. Maybe he can figure out where you live and cold blood murder your love without any reason at all other than he felt like it and in 20 years get out again. You make absolutely no sense. Unbelievable!

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7walter_sobchak(2724 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

Read the article again. Can't blame the parole board as he is not on parole. He served out the sentence mandated by the law. Now it is up to the community to protect itself from this individual. Point him out, keep an eye on him and lock and load. Zebras don't change their stripes.

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8DwightK(1537 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

"He told a judge in 1983 he didn’t know why he killed Sposito."

If he can't answer that question now he probably still poses a danger to those around him.

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9papa1(711 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

maybe he promised the parole board never to do it again. cross my heart and hope to die. that's exactly what's wrong with this country, too soft on crime. this is outrageous. he will commit another crime. hopefully an innocent person won't suffer because of the absurdity of these ignorant people. there should be a sign in their front yard, " beware, a convicted murderer lives here!!"

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10VINDYAK(1824 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

One of our best attributes is our ability to forgive, but through our liberal courts, that very attribute is being taken advantage of by criminals.

Recently, a newspaper in New York did a senseless act by printing the names and addresses of all people who carried a firearm. What sort of shock and benefit to society could their efforts be if they printed the names and addresses of all serious criminals? I would gladly prefer that over wasting time on gun owners who are protecting themselves, their homes and their families.

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11NoBS(2832 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

To all you people who think all Jarrett needs is a nice hug and a couple courses of Kumbaya, answer this honestly: Would you feel 100% comfortable with him living right next to you?

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12Owlguin(50 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

I'm not convinced that someone who did not give their murder victims a second chance deserves one themselves.

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13peacelover(839 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

I suppose he will find a way to get his hands on a gun now.

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14Sumpintasay(55 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

People seem to forget that he had no motive for killing. His victim didn't hurt him, didn't offend him, didn't molest or beat him. She didn't even look at him crosseyed. He killed her because he wanted to.

Most people kill for a reason. This guy had NO REASON.
You cannot say to yourself that you will just be real nice to him. He doesn't care about that. He kills just because. No reason. He will kill you because he wants to not because you did anything to him. People don't find that unsettling? He murdered his neighbor lady for no reason. And now he lives in YOUR neighborhood!! That wouldn't bother you, eh?

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156675409(37 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

No motive? He killed the wife of a cop.

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16whitesabbath(738 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

So you must be a great KILLER then Sumpin. You sound like you have a little blood lust.

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17steelwagon(284 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

This guy murdered one person and would have killed another if he hadn't been scared off.
No I don't believe he belongs in civil society.

Those of you who do should befriend him.
Maybe you should stop by his house,give him your address and phone numbers and extend your families friendship and goodwill if you really believe he can be trusted and deserves the second chance his victim never had.

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18papa1(711 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

the late johnny cash sang a song which included these lyrics, " i killed a man just to watch him die." this animal should not be free and some innocent person will pay the price for this insanity!! mark my words.

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19PhilKidd(189 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

A separate but important question: Would this be a story if he was moving to Youngstown or Warren?

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20Lifes2Short(3882 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago


""One of our best attributes is our ability to forgive, but through our liberal courts, that very attribute is being taken advantage of by criminals.""

Agree 100%!

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21bigvig316(3 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

Hey, the man paid his debt to society, and it took 30 years of his life. Do any of you know what kind of treatment and experiences he had in prison to rehabilitate him.

He should get the benefit of the doubt.

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