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Murder brings 'Dateline NBC' to Fayetteville — again

Murder brings 'Dateline NBC' to Fayetteville — again

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Fayetteville is proving to be fertile territory for "Dateline NBC."

Correspondent Keith Morrison was in town last year to report a story on Michelle Theer, who was convicted in 2004 of killing her husband.

That led to another Fayetteville murder story, this one involving the 2005 conviction of Joan Shannon and the 2004 guilty plea of her daughter Elizabeth. Morrison's report on the Shannon case is scheduled to air today at 9 p.m.

The Shannon case garnered national attention. Joan Shannon was found guilty in September 2005 of murdering her husband, Army Maj. David Shannon, in 2002. Elizabeth Shannon pleaded guilty to the murder in June 2004.

Morrison, a "Dateline" correspondent since 1995 and an Emmy award-winner, said he learned of the case while reporting on Theer.

"Some of the law enforcement we met got to talking about this case," he said. "The more we heard, the more we said, 'That's really interesting.' "

According to prosecutors, Joan and David Shannon were swingers who met sexual partners online. In 2001, David Shannon met Jeffrey Wilson on the Internet and introduced him to his wife. Wilson and Joan Shannon started a romantic relationship, and she professed to being in love with him. When David Shannon saw that the relationship was becoming serious, he told his wife to stop seeing Wilson.

Joan Shannon persuaded her daughter to kill David Shannon, prosecutors said. In the early morning hours of July 23, 2002, Elizabeth shot and killed her father.

Elizabeth, now 24, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in exchange for testifying against her mother. She was sentenced to 25 to 31 years in prison and is at the N.C. Correctional Institution for Women in Raleigh.

Joan Shannon, now 44, was convicted of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder and accessory after the fact to murder. She was sentenced to life without parole for murder plus at least 13 years for conspiracy. She is at the Southern Correctional Institution in Troy.

"It's a fascinating story," Morrison said in an interview from Billings, Mont., where he was researching another story.


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