Officer divulges details of ’98 campus murder

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Aeriel Niccum | Staff Reporter
Posted March 18, 2014; 2:20 p.m.
Published Legacy March 18, 2014

Nearly 16 years ago Lindenwood was the scene of a heinous crime, the murder of 13-year-old Tiffany Sabourin of Wentzville.

Lieutenant Chad Fisk of the Saint Charles Police Department recently afforded members of the LU Criminal Justice Student Association the opportunity to learn details about the murder.

According to Fisk, Sabourin’s headless and partially nude body was found on a footpath between what are now the Lindenwood water towers and the Welcome Center in April 1998 by a student. Sabourin’s head was later found in a portable toilet facility by investigators. Investigators then followed what leads they had, which consisted of crime scene photos, interviews and evidence collection, to pursue the case. According to Fisk, the most important lead was a bed sheet.

“The case really broke apart when blood dogs brought in from out of state led to the lake where a bed sheet was discovered by police divers,” said Fisk.

A photo of the bed sheet aired on television. That’s when Jason Richter recognized the sheet as his roommate’s. Richter called police and told them that his roommate’s fitted sheet and pillow case matched the sheet aired on television. Richter also disclosed that his roommate had not been back to the dorm since the discovery of Sabourin’s body.

Police located and brought in Jason Kyle Shipman, then 21, for questioning. After waiving his Miranda rights, Shipman denied knowing Sabourin, denied the sheet as being his, and gave an alibi stating that he was at a hotel the night of Sabourin’s murder with his fifteen-year-old friend, Billy Joe Logsdon, who Shipman claimed actually killed Sabourin while Shipman acted as a lookout.

In turn, police brought Logsdon in for questioning. Upon waiving his Miranda rights, Logsdon made up multiple stories, each discounted by investigators and Shipman whose own stories did not match. Shipman’s alibi was discounted by investigators during the interview process. Further investigation revealed that Shipman’s fingerprints were on the portable toilet facility where Sabourin’s head was found.

According to a 1999 article from The Southeast Missourian titled, “Shipman guilty in decapitation death charges dropped against teen-ager,” Shipman eventually confessed and avoided trial by pleading guilty to first-degree murder, attempted rape, decapitation, sodomy and armed criminal action in exchange for life in prison without the possibility of parole.

According to the article, Shipman also admitted to lying about Logsdon’s involvement, saying he acted individually. Charges were dropped against Logsdon who subsequently went to live with his aunt in Kentucky.

According to Victim Information and Notification Everyday Link, Shipman is currently serving his sentence at the South Central Correctional Center in Licking, Mo.