Killer who lived in Howland charged in Michigan robbery, sexual assault

Staff report


A former Farrell, Pa., man convicted of killing an elderly woman in 1982, then paroled last year to live in Howland with his parents, has been arrested on charges that he robbed and assaulted an elderly Michigan woman.

Shawn Jarrett, 50, was arrested in Grandville, Mich., Thursday morning after a woman reported that Jarrett attacked a woman and robbed her after tricking her into letting him into her house.

He is in the Kent County, Mich., jail, according to News 8 in Grand Rapids, Mich. He is to be charged with two first-degree felonies and arraigned on Monday, police said.

Jarrett moved in with his parents on Dawson Drive in Howland in January 2013 after serving his full 30-year sentence for murdering Mary Sposito, 64, in Farrell in 1982. Sposito, the widow of the former Farrell police chief, was Jarrett’s next-door neighbor on Roemer Boulevard, where she lived alone.

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

He also was sentenced for an attack on a 58-year-old Sharon woman two months after the Sposito killing, police said.

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

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 a 10- to 20-year sentence in each crime but a judge granted him parole in the Sharon choking after 10 years. He served the entire 20 years for the murder.

Howland police were alerted when Jarrett moved onto Dawson Drive and alerted residents of the area to Jarrett’s presence.

Howland Police Chief Paul Monroe said in January 2012 he believed 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.”

A second Michigan television station, Fox 17 News, reported that one of the new charges against Jarrett is criminal sexual assault.

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