Couple Who Murdered Government Witness Sentenced To Life In Prison

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Ocala, Florida – Senior United States District Judge John Antoon II has sentenced David Chappell Fey (57, Belleview) and Shari Lynn Gunter (58, Ocklawaha) to life imprisonment for murdering a government witness. Fey and Gunter were found guilty by a federal jury following a joint trial in December 2021. The trial required special accommodations, with a separate jury hearing evidence for each defendant. In the end, each jury returned guilty verdicts on all four counts – distribution of methamphetamine, conspiracy to murder a government witness, murder of a government witness, and conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and fentanyl causing death. Prior to trial, Fey pleaded guilty to an additional seven counts of distributing methamphetamine.

According to trial evidence, Fey and Gunter lived together in Summerfield, Florida, where they routinely distributed methamphetamine and other drugs. The 31-year-old victim, who was the mother of three children, was one of their customers.  The victim had agreed to cooperate with law enforcement and conducted a controlled buy of $40 worth of methamphetamine on January 19, 2016. After discovering that the victim was helping authorities, Fey and Gunter conspired to murder her to prevent her from acting as a witness against them.  Specifically, on April 5, 2016, Fey and Gunter made up a “hot shot” – a syringe containing a lethal amount of fentanyl and methamphetamine – and provided it to the victim. When the victim injected herself, she immediately collapsed. Gunter then dragged the victim outside, kicked her in the head, and placed her in the passenger seat of her car. As the victim sat helpless in the vehicle, Fey and Gunter administered a second, fatal dose of fentanyl and methamphetamine, causing her death. They then drove the victim to a cemetery in Oxford, Florida, and staged the scene to make it appear like an accidental overdose.

“The United States is currently in the midst of an unprecedented opioid epidemic. Every single day, DEA investigators, along with our local and state law enforcement partners, are working tirelessly to keep our communities safe and healthy,” said DEA Miami Field Division Special Agent in Charge Deanne L. Reuter. “This sentencing highlights our commitment to our Florida communities, our efforts to bring justice to the victims and their families, and our resolution to hold these drug traffickers accountable for their actions.”

This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, with support from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, the Unified Drug Enforcement Strike Team, the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office, and the Clay County Sheriff’s Office. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Michael P. Felicetta and Tyrie K. Boyer.