Wedding ring of a slain woman has been auctioned, but the buyer will not sell it to her grieving family

For Shemethia Coteat Stanton’s family, it has been hurt after hurt.

The 41-year-old wife and mother were ambushed on February 14, 2020, outside her Hoover apartment.

Death was a blow to the united family.

Almost two years later, no arrests have been made, although police say they have a serious suspect but not yet enough evidence to prove the case.

And now, her husband Phillip Stanton said, the family is fighting a new battle – trying to get their wedding ring back.

It was considered unclaimed property at a county auction and sold to a Missouri man who will not resell the ring to Stanton, who says he offered her more than the man did. has paid.

“She was murdered on the streets and robbed by the state,” Stanton said. “It’s frustrating.”

“It hurt so much.”

The fatal shooting happened on Valentine’s Day 2020 outside his Hoover apartment.

Police and firefighters responded shortly before 7 p.m. that Friday at The Park at Wellington and Wakefield apartments near Tyler Road.

Once there, they found Coteat Stanton in front of his car. She was pronounced dead at the scene at 7:05 p.m.

Hoover Police said it appeared Coteat Stanton was retrieving items from the backseat of her vehicle when she was attacked. She was shot four times in the back. Detectives are still working to determine a motive, but investigators believe Coteat Stanton has been targeted.

The suspect was waiting in the parking lot for Coteat Stanton to come home.

Investigators say they have identified a suspect in the case but still need more information to arrest that person. Phillip Stanton has been ruled out as a suspect, police said.

Shemethia Coteat Stanton, a beloved daughter, sister and mother of 4, was killed on February 14. His grieving family is demanding justice and the police offer a reward in this case. (Contributed)

One of her children, Kassidy Stanton, has found her shot several times.

“I heard the last three shots because I think there were five” Kassidy told AL.com in 2020.

“I was sitting there waiting for it to stop. I heard the tires burst and that’s it. I’m like ‘OK, someone just got shot and I’m curious so I’m going to go check it out.’ ”

Kassidy peeked through the blinds and saw her mother’s car, but her mother was nowhere in sight.

“My first instinct was to go look again, check it out, because maybe she’s in the walkway and maybe she’s running away from the shots,” she said.

“I saw her car door open, but I still couldn’t see her. At this point, I’m worried because why hasn’t she come into the house? “

Kassidy, then 17, ran outside and saw her unconscious mother on the ground.

“I checked his pulse because I’m trained for CPR,” Kassidy said. “There was no pulse. At that point the neighbors came out and I was screaming, but it was so unreal to me that my mother was lying there.

“There was no reason for someone to do something like this to someone so loving and God-fearing,” she said. “It hurt so much. I can not explain it.

Shemethia Cotéat Stanton

Family members of Hoover’s murder victim Shemethia Coteat Stanton are trying to redeem her ring which was sold at a Jefferson County auction. (Jefferson County Coroner’s Office.)

“She never stopped wearing the wedding ring.”

Sheneka Coteat said her sister had just left Piggly Wiggly in Bluff Park, not far from her home. She was seen at 6:53 p.m. visiting with the store security guard and another employee, then returned home.

“She was pronounced dead at 7:05 pm – that’s how it happened quickly,” Sheneka said in 2020.

Coteat Stanton and her husband were legally divorced at the time but remained in a close relationship, and the children continued to live in the family’s apartment with their father after the fatal shooting.

Authorities initially kept Coteat Stanton’s belongings for evidence, and when the family finally recovered the items, they realized his wedding ring was missing.

“That’s when we started looking for him,” said Phillip Stanton. “I thought it would be a break from the business. I call the detectives to ask them if we can check the pawn shops? “

He was hoping that maybe someone had sold the ring, which could lead to a possible suspect.

“She never stopped wearing the wedding ring,” Stanton said. “We had been together since high school – in our thirties – and married for 18 years. We had three children together.”

Stanton began to try to find the ring. He learned that the ring and some other items were in the possession of the Jefferson County Coroner’s Office, which had returned some things – like a nose ring and bracelet – but not the wedding ring or his Apple Watch.

Eventually, Stanton contacted the Jefferson County Coroner’s Office. He learned that the ring was sold at a county auction on December 28, 2020.

Deputy Chief Coroner Bill Yates explained that, as in all coroner’s cases, his personal belongings were removed, inventoried and secured in the property room.

“We attempted to contact the only relative we knew (the victim’s son) after the autopsy to inform him of personal property and we were unable to get it,” Yates said.

Because they were legally divorced, Stanton was technically not the next of kin. Authorities have contacted Phillip Stanton Jr., who says he does not recall receiving a phone call about his mother’s property.

Under state law, any property unclaimed for more than 30 days is turned over to the county treasurer and sold at county auction, with the proceeds going to the county general fund. Yates said that although the law says 30 days, he thinks it is pretty quick, so they held Coteat Stanton’s property for 10 months after his death.

At this point, it was among several items sold at a county’s highest bidder online auction.

This same law provides that the family can come back later and be somehow reimbursed for the product, but not necessarily for the market value of the item. At Stanton’s request, the coroner’s office began the reimbursement process.

Stanton’s plan was to use this money to try to redeem the ring so that it could be passed on to one of their children. “It’s special,” he said.

Shemethia Coteat Stanton

Shemethia Coteat Stanton and Phillip Stanton Sr. (Contribution)

Yates put Stanton in touch with the man who bought the “bundle” that included the ring.

“This office tried to help negotiate an agreement between the two parties. I wrote a letter to the successful bidder explaining the nature of the death, the history of the item, its significance, and encouraged him to find a way for the family to retrieve this item, ” said Yates.

“It seems like it was happening, and then I just found out that for some reason he changed his mind.”

“He took advantage of my sympathy. “

“It’s unfortunate,” Yates said. “I think Mr. Stanton wishes we had done more to get a hold of the family and I can see that, and I will definitely keep that in mind in the future. We have tried and we have documented it.

Stanton first contacted the man – Harold Blaker, 85, of Kearney, Missouri – about a month ago.

“I explained the situation to him and he said, ‘that’s fine,’ and that he would hold it to me,” Stanton said. “I told him that as soon as we had the money, we would send it to him.”

Blaker told Stanton he paid $ 1,700 for the “bundle” of items. They agreed that Stanton would pay him $ 2,000 just for the ring.

Two weeks ago, he called Blaker again and told him he was getting a check for $ 1,400 from the county and that he would use that money, along with part of his, to redeem the ring.

Stanton called Blaker again to tell him the check was about to be processed, and at that point he learned that Blaker no longer wanted to sell the ring.

“He told me it wasn’t going to do it,” Stanton said. “I asked him, ‘Sir, have you ever been married?’ and he said, ‘Yes, three times.’ ”

Blaker spoke with AL.com about his purchase, which he said included several items such as sunglasses, eyeglasses, phones, necklaces and Coteat Stanton’s ring.

“This guy wanted to buy the ring back,” Blaker said. “I bought it fair and square.

“He thinks I should let him have it and send me the money,” Blaker said. “I don’t trust anyone anymore. I’ve been screwed up on deals like this.

Blaker said they initially disagreed on the price. Stanton called him again.

“He took my sympathy, I guess, and said, ‘Well, that was my wife’s wedding ring,’ Blaker said.“ I said, ‘Well, I’ve changed my mind. notice. I don’t want to get rid of anything. ”

“I don’t feel comfortable putting a $ 2,000 ring in the mailbox and hoping someone will send me money,” he said. “It’s like that.”

Blaker said he is bidding on government auctions as a hobby, despite being his first purchase in Alabama.

“I bought stuff from Ohio and Kansas,” he said. ” I have never had a problem. I paid for my things and they sent them to me.

A lot of the time, he says, he sells it. Junk jewelry, he says, is sold by the weight of gold.

“I bought it and paid for it,” Blaker said. “I’m not at all obligated to him. I’m sorry he got involved in a murder, but it’s out of my control. I’m just not going to do that.

“You can call me and talk to me anytime, honey,” Blaker said. AL.com, “But I’m still not going to sell him that ring again.”

AL.com offered to lead the cashier’s check from Stanton to Blaker, Missouri and return the ring to Stanton. Blaker said it would be nice, but changed his mind again the next day.

Stanton is heartbroken.

“I don’t understand why they want to keep the ring,” he said. “I’m just going to keep praying.”


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