Ravenna mom accused of killing daughters in drunk driving crash had lengthy criminal record

Published: Mar. 28, 2022 at 7:39 PM EDT
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PORTAGE COUNTY, Ohio (WOIO) - A Portage County mom has been sitting in a jail cell for more than a year.

Julianne Shead, 41, is locked up for allegedly driving drunk and killing two of her daughters and her son’s 13-year-old girlfriend, but her trial date still has not been set.

19 investigator Kelly Kennedy spoke exclusively with the family, who claimed the mother had a long history of alcoholism and abuse.

“Every day, I pray that I can, like I get to walk out of my bedroom and see my little sister sitting there on the couch, or just to hear her walk up the stairs,” said Julianne Shead’s oldest surviving daughter, Amanda Paxson. “I wait for that moment, every day. I pray for the moment where I get to see Marlena just to see your smile. Just to feel their presence their hug every anything I would, I wouldn’t do anything to have that again.”

It was Dec. 13, 2020.

The family said they were going to visit their dad’s gravesite.

It was his birthday.

“There are other excruciating details found later like her toxicology report the fact that she had a blood alcohol content level of .105, the fact that she was on methamphetamines was found out later,” Paxson said.

Julianne Shead was behind the wheel.

Four of her children, her nephew, her son’s girlfriend, and another friend were all in the car.

Ohio State Highway Patrol said Shead was speeding when she hit a tree, killing her oldest daughter, 22-year-old Marlana Mullin, her youngest daughter, 12-year-old Christine Shead, and her son’s girlfriend 13-year-old Evey Montecalvo.

“It’s hard dealing with it every day because like, a piece of us was ripped away,” said Paxson. “You know, it’s not just me, it’s just my brothers. That was you know, those were their sisters as well. A huge chunk of us was ripped away that day and honestly, if I would have lost all of my siblings that night, I don’t know what I would do. I’m very thankful that I have my brothers because if it wasn’t for them, I don’t know how it’d be able to go about my day.”

Unfortunately for 20-year-old Amanda Paxson and her brothers – twins 16-year-old Garrett and Austin Shead – the nightmare with their mother began much earlier.

“My mom has a very long history with alcoholism,” explained Paxson. “She would buy cases of beer constantly, liquor bottles, I mean she’d store the liquor in her bathroom closet. She’d store it in our linen closet, she kept their refrigerator and the freezer stocked full of that stuff and nine times out of the 10 there was more booze in the house than there was food.”

Paxson said when her mother drank, she often became violent.

“She’s hurt at least every single one of her kids multiple times,” Paxson said. “Whether it was being thrown down a flight of stairs, being punched, being kicked, being choked. She would constantly try to pick fights with us just to prove that she was a bigger person.”

Our investigation revealed that Shead’s criminal record dates back to 1998.

The mother of six has been arrested four times for driving under the influence.

The first time was in 1999, the second was in 2004.

The third happened in September of 2020, and as a result, her license was suspended, but that didn’t stop her -- because she got the 4th one the day of the tragic crash, just two months later.

“There’s a lot of things that Portage County failed to do,” Paxson said. “For example, I can tell you right now, just for myself, I had called Children’s Services countless times throughout the years, I’ve called the police on my mother countless times, and it was anything ranging from her being drunk to her being violent to drinking and driving and every single time she would never get caught.

19 News uncovered court documents that show, Julianne Shead was arrested for assault, domestic violence, and resisting arrest in 1999.

Reports from the Portage County Sheriff’s Office show deputies were called to the family’s home 20 times over the years for situations related to domestic violence, welfare checks on the children, and disorderly conduct.

Paxson said Portage County Children Services never intervened.

She said every time she tried to call them, she was told there wasn’t enough evidence.

“I feel like if children’s advantage had actually taken the initiative to do more than just come here a couple of times,” said Garrett Shead, Julianne Shead’s son. “I wish that when we did call, they would say that okay, we’d come but a lot of times they say that’s not enough evidence, and then I wish she would have just listened because there was a lot of family members and friends telling her okay, you need to stop, including us kids. You need to stop, and these are the exact words before you kill somebody.”

19 News reached out to Portage County Children’s Services to try to obtain the records of those calls but were told because they deal with minors, those records are sealed.

“This is where we are now, because of that, because she failed to go to rehab,” said Paxson. “She failed to take care of her children and herself. Our sisters are gone. Another little girl is gone. My brothers were injured. There were others that were injured, and we’re left here picking up the pieces of the damage that she caused.”

Paxson remembers when she got the call about the crash.

“I thought that she hit somebody else,” said Paxson. “I already knew that she had been drinking and driving because this was not her first rodeo. She had done it multiple times.”

Twin brothers Austin and Garrett Shead were both in the car.

“We skipped a stop sign down there and then past that stop sign not even two minutes down the road there was like these big lumps in the road where we jumped about, we jumped,” recalled Austin Shead, Julianne Shead’s son. “I remember the feeling in my stomach of just going in the air and then landing back down. I was mostly awake for going around the turns. I remember hitting the first turn. We almost didn’t make it. So, we went way out to the second and I remember the feeling of going off the road. I blacked out about 2.5 seconds before we hit the tree. I wake up I’m standing across the road, looking at everything and I remember seeing everybody dead. Oh, not everybody but my sister’s dead. My brother’s on the truck. My mom sitting there panicking.”

Paramedics took the survivors to Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland.

Austin came out of the crash with just a few minor injuries, but Garrett had a concussion and broke three different bones in his legs.

“I woke up to my Aunt Patty coming in and then that’s who told me who had passed away from the accident and I didn’t know what to think at the moment,” said Garrett. “Right before she told me, and she told me it was Marlena, Christine, and Evey. I felt like my heart dropped and I started crying. I was crying. I couldn’t believe it. Like it was just very, very sad.”

That moment still haunts Garrett’s twin brother.

“I already knew who died but just to see his face, it terrifies me to this day,” admitted Austin. “I don’t want to ever see anybody have to, their expression, that broke my heart and half.”

The Portage County mom is facing 20 charges including three counts of first-degree felony aggravated vehicular homicide, three counts of operating a vehicle under the influence, and driving while under an OVI suspension.

“Honestly there should be nothing stopping the case,” Paxson said. “Justice needs to be served accordingly.”

Their mother has been sitting in a jail cell for more than a year.

Her discovery hearings have been rescheduled four times.

The siblings are frustrated by how slow the justice system is moving.

“I don’t even think we actually started to grieve properly because there hasn’t been the proper justice done and like I said, before, you know, we had a huge chunk of us ripped away that night, and it’s very hard to try to find a way to fill that hole and it’s very frustrating,” Paxson said. “It’s very stressful to just even think about.”

19 News requested an on-camera interview with the portage county prosecutor’s office to ask about the delays in Shead’s trial.

They wouldn’t go on camera, but they did tell us in an email that the COVID-19 pandemic caused a lot of delays in her court proceedings.

They also said Shead has been granted several continuances to find an expert witness.

Prosecutor Victor Viluicci went on to say, “This defendant has been in jail the entire time since her arrest, and we expect she will be in prison for many years to come.”

“From what we were told my mom is looking at 45 years in total, whether she lives or not,” explained Paxson. “I mean, I believe 45 years is reasonable for all the charges but at the same time, it’s not. So much more that she needs to serve and that she needs to be sentenced for but unfortunately it doesn’t work like that. You know? Fifteen years is not enough. Twenty years isn’t enough. Forty-five years isn’t even enough for everything.”

But more than jail time, the siblings want their mother to take responsibility for her actions.

“I want her to realize what she’s done, for her,” said Austin. I mean, I’m not very much of a religious person. But I believe that she needs some help. Even though I might be really mad at her I know deep inside she’s hurting, we all are. She needs help.”

“I would like for her to like admit to what she’s done,” Garrett said. “Just kind of like say, okay, kind of like plead guilty for what she’s done. That’d be a good thing for closure for me and then for her to just actually say I’m sorry and mean it.”

But in the end, nothing can bring back their sisters, Marlana and Christine, and Evey.

“Our older sister Marlena was very upbeat and bubbly,” said Paxson. “She had a very bubbly personality. She loved to dance. She was very funny. Christine was like my little mini-me. She was my everything that was my baby sister. I loved her to pieces. She was one of the first ones that found out I was pregnant the first time and she cried. She was so excited, and my daughter’s middle name was named after her. It’s Everly Christine in honor of her, we named her after our sister.”

Paxson told me she moved home in February of this year so she could get full custody of her three siblings, they’re currently living in their childhood home.

As of now, Julianne Shead’s discovery hearing is set for April 15 at 11:30 A.M. Her kids are hoping it won’t be rescheduled again.

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