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Judge sentences man convicted of brutally murdering Boeing retiree, stealing his property

Investigators say Jeremy Shaw researched how to take ownership of someone's land by living on it for an extended period of time, then targeted Steven Morphis.

KENT, Wash. — On Friday, 43-year-old Jeremy Shaw was convicted of murder in the first-degree and arson in the second degree for the brutal killing of 67-year-old Steven Morphis, a retired Boeing worker. 

The King County Prosecuting Attorney's office said Shaw, a Tacoma resident, was trying to occupy Morphis' home and take over his land. Shaw faces 45 years in prison. 

Shaw was also ordered to pay $4,732.60 in restitution and have no contact with Morphis' family.

In 2018, Shaw spent weeks looking into how to steal someone's land by spending an extended period of time on it, according to investigators. He researched several properties in King County and chose Morphis' home in a quiet, unincorporated part of Renton, according to court documents. 

Shaw brutally murdered Morphis, who was later found in a shed by a contractor who showed up to do some ongoing work and missed his cheerful conversations with Morphis, according to investigators.

Shaw was convicted at the end of April after a six-week trial. 

Prosecutors asked for maximum sentences: 548 months for murder in the first degree and 85 months for arson in the second degree. Judge Matthew Williams agreed. 

"It is difficult to imagine a more premeditated, coldblooded, deliberate or predatory attack on the safety of Mr. Morphis, or on the safety of our community," Judge Williams said. 

Shaw's wife, Lorena Shaw, previous pleaded guilty to residential burglary for entering Morphis' home after he was killed with the intent to commit theft, conspiracy to commit theft, and rendering criminal assistance.