Murders A-Z

Woman Shoots Husband In The Back Of The Head Before He Finds Out They Owe Over $100K To IRS

The Scheffield family owed the state more than $100,000, and a tax lien had been placed on their company.

Murders A-Z is a collection of true crime stories that take an in-depth look at both little-known and famous murders throughout history. 

On December 27, 2011, the family of Randy Scheffield called 911 after finding him in his bedroom, unresponsive with blood coming out of his ear. His wife Doretta thought he may have had a heart attack or stroke. As paramedics examined his body, however, they found a small puncture wound in the back of his head. It was a bullet hole from a .22 caliber handgun. Randy Scheffield had been shot in the head. Police would eventually learn it was murder, but it would take years before justice would be served.

Randy Scheffield grew up in the blue-collar towns that surround Cleveland, Ohio, where the looming machinery of the industrial Midwest gives way to the endless horizons of the Plains. While attending the University of Akron, he began working as a landscaper and realized it was steady work that kept him outside all day. After college, he founded Scheffield Lawns and hired his mother as the book keeper.

“He had a van and a trailer and a lawnmower, and from there he built a very reputable, landscape business and it was in a very affluent part of our county,” Geauga County Sheriff’s Office Detective Juanita Vetter told “Snapped.”

By the early ‘90s, Randy was in his mid-30s and newly divorced. He began frequenting a pub called The Greenville Inn in the nearby town of Chagrin Falls, Ohio, where he met 40-year-old Doretta Boyce. She had grown up in working class East Cleveland, and like Randy, was on the rebound after a failed marriage. Her husband, David Rowles, with whom she had three children, had left her, and she was now a single mother.

“She was the mom that all of us would want to have,” said Sonny Battaglia, whose daughter was involved with Doretta’s son. “You could pick up the phone, call Doretta virtually anytime, say, ‘I'm in a bind. I need this.’ Doretta would drop everything and go out of her way to try to make that happen for you."

Those close to Randy and Doretta were happy they had found each other. Doretta quickly adopted Randy’s favorite pass times: snowboarding and motorcycling.

“She would hop on the back of any snowmobile or motorcycle he had, you know, if not ride her own,” Jason Tibbs, who worked for Randy, told “Snapped.”

Randy and Doretta eventually moved in together, along with two of her children. Though he never had kids of his own, Sonny Battaglia said Randy quickly adapted to being a “full-time dad,” especially to her 11-year-old son David Rowles Jr, who went by the nickname Tig.

“Randy really kind of took him in as his own son,” friend Ralph Dickenson told “Snapped.”

In 2002, after being a couple for 10 years, Randy and Doretta finally decided to make it official and were married following a health scare.

“Randy became diabetic later in life, and just decided he wanted to take care of Doretta,” said Ralph Dickenson. Doretta soon began working with Randy at Scheffield Lawns, taking over the books from his mother, and so did Tig when he was old enough.

“Randy wasn't easy on Tig; he didn't just hand him things. Randy actually taught that boy everything,” said Sonny Battaglia. 

For years, Randy, Doretta and Tig lived together in the home and attached garage, which Scheffield Lawns operated out of. Then, in 2010, Tig started dating 27-year-old hair dresser Gina Battaglia. They soon got a place of their own and had a child. Randy and Doretta began to think of retiring. Business was booming, and it was assumed Tig would take over the reins. That’s when everything went sideways.

On the evening of December 27, 2011, the crew at Scheffield Lawns was expecting the first big snowfall of the season and readying their snowplows. Jason Tibbs said he stopped by the house and found Doretta, Tig, Gina and other employees waiting around, but no sign of Randy. It was assumed he was resting upstairs, preparing for the long night ahead.

When Doretta went to roust him, Jason told “Snapped,” “I heard the most horrific shrill of a scream.”

Randy was lying unresponsive on their bed, with blood coming out of his ear. Tig called 911, but when paramedics arrived, they found Randy cold to the touch with no pulse. They tried moving his arm, and found it stiff, rigor mortis was setting in. Randy Scheffield was dead at the age of 53.

Geauga County Sheriff’s Office Detective Juanita Vetter arrived on the scene, but found Doretta Scheffield despondent and unable to answer any questions. Initially, no one suspected foul play or anything out of the ordinary.

As Randy’s sister Melody Scheffield told “Snapped,” “He was in his 50s, so there’s a possibility of heart attack. He was diabetic. He had health issues from that.”

Jason Tibbs agreed: “For all intents and purposes, it looked like he had an aneurysm and blood bled out his ear or something.”

However, EMTs on the scene discovered a small wound on the back of Randy’s head, which was not consistent with an aneurism or cardiac event. They looked around the room, wondering if he had fallen and hit his head, but instead found an empty gun box.

Juanita Vetter told “Snapped” that when Doretta was asked where the gun was, she replied, “I don’t even know. I hate guns. I don’t touch guns.”

With an unexplained head wound and a missing gun, police began suspecting something was amiss. After taking Randy’s body to the hospital for examination, they discovered a small caliber bullet lodged in the back of his head.

At first, Detective Vetter wondered if she was dealing with a suicide.

“I’ve had many suspicious deaths that I’ve investigated that the family is very sensitive to the issue of suicide, and will literally remove the gun from a scene and hide it because they don’t want people to realize that their loved ones have committed suicide,” she told “Snapped.”

When Doretta Scheffield was questioned at the police station that night, she said she had seen Randy in the morning, before going out to run errands. She returned home and found his bedroom door shut tight, and assumed he was resting to get ready for work later. When Vetter told her Randy died from a gunshot wound and asked if it could have been suicide, Doretta replied, “No, he wouldn't hurt himself,” then became hysterical, thus ending the interview.

The following day, after performing an autopsy on Randy Scheffield and studying the trajectory of the bullet that killed him, the coroner determined he couldn’t have committed suicide.

Randy was murdered.

Suspicion turned to a strange man in a red shirt who had been seen walking back and forth in the neighborhood. Police wondered if Randy had died in a robbery attempt gone wrong. However, the angle at which the bullet went into the back of Randy’s head made that scenario unlikely.

 “The bullet came in at an angle where they had to have knelt down and been at the same level as his head to shoot,” Vetter explained to “Snapped.” “If it’s a burglar and there’s a confrontation, they’re going to shoot from a standing position.”

The Geauga County Sheriff’s Office began a murder investigation. They interviewed Tig Rowles and asked if Randy had any enemies. He told them around Thanksgiving, Randy had fired three black males who worked for Sheffield Lawns, who were angry they wouldn’t have money for Christmas.

However, when they interviewed Jason Tibbs, he told them, “There were no three black guys, it never happened.”

Tibbs also told police Tig was growing anxious for Randy to retire, but that secretly, Randy didn’t trust Tig to run the business he had built from the ground up. 

Soon after, police received a phone call from a woman who claimed to be Gina Battaglia’s best friend. She said that Gina also had been frustrated that Randy hadn’t retired yet and handed over the business to Tig.

“She made the comment that, you know, I got to find a way to off Randy Scheffield,” Geauga County Sheriff Thomas Lombardo told “Snapped.”

When police asked about her whereabouts on the day of the murder, Gina said she went over to the Sheffield’s that afternoon, however, her cell phone data showed her near the home that morning.

“We suspected that Gina had definitely had some part in [the murder],” said Lombardo.

As police continued their investigation, they received a phone call from Randy’s mother, Rebecca Sheffield. Rebecca said that Sheffield Lawns’ mail was sent to her house, which Doretta would collect each week. Rebecca noticed multiple letters from the Ohio Department Of Taxation in the months before Randy’s death. She finally decided to open one and learned that the company owed the state more than $100,000, and a tax lien had been placed on the company.

When she confronted Doretta, she replied, “I messed up. Please don’t tell Randy,” according to Geaga County Assistant Prosecutor Nick Burling.

Investigators now felt they had a clear motive — either Randy found out about Doretta messing up the books, or was about to, and in a moment of panic she killed him, with the help of her son and his girlfriend.

“She was losing everything. Not only was she losing everything, but her son was losing everything. I think the motherly instinct in her is like, ‘I’m gonna protect my family’. And she snapped,” said Juanita Vetter.

Unfortunately, most of their evidence was circumstantial. Cell phone data showed Doretta was home at the time of Randy’s murder, and that she and Gina had lied about their movements that day, but there were no witnesses and no murder weapon. It would take four years before prosecutors felt confident enough to bring charges against Doretta, Tig, and Gina, which they did in March 2015.

Doretta Sheffield went on trial for the murder of her husband Randy the following autumn. After an eight-day trial and three days of deliberations, the jury found her guilty on all counts,  according to The News Herald, which included aggravated murder, murder and tampering with evidence on September 29, 2015. Just over a month later, she was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison, plus another 30 months for tampering with evidence. 

In January 2016, prosecutors were preparing for the trials of David “Tig” Rowles Jr. and his girlfriend Gina Battaglia. However, at the last minute, they decided to dismiss charges against Tig, with Geauga County Assistant Prosecutor Jennifer Driscoll saying, “The State of Ohio believes that it would be unable to prove the allegations in the indictment beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Prosecutors were far more confident about their case against Gina Battaglia, which included charges for conspiracy to commit aggravated murder. With her trial scheduled to begin on January 12, 2016, Gina cut a deal with prosecutors and pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence and obstruction of justice. On March 4, 2016, she was sentenced to two years in prison for each count, with her sentences to run concurrently. She was released 10 months early in 2017. Doretta Sheffield is now 67, and she will be eligible for parole in 2042.

[Photo: "Snapped" Screengrab]

 

Murders A-Z is a collection of true crime stories that take an in-depth look at both little-known and famous murders throughout history. 

On December 27, 2011, the family of Randy Scheffield called 911 after finding him in his bedroom, unresponsive with blood coming out of his ear. His wife Doretta thought he may have had a heart attack or stroke. As paramedics examined his body, however, they found a small puncture wound in the back of his head. It was a bullet hole from a .22 caliber handgun. Randy Scheffield had been shot in the head. Police would eventually learn it was murder, but it would take years before justice would be served.

Randy Scheffield grew up in the blue-collar towns that surround Cleveland, Ohio, where the looming machinery of the industrial Midwest gives way to the endless horizons of the Plains. While attending the University of Akron, he began working as a landscaper and realized it was steady work that kept him outside all day. After college, he founded Scheffield Lawns and hired his mother as the book keeper.

“He had a van and a trailer and a lawnmower, and from there he built a very reputable, landscape business and it was in a very affluent part of our county,” Geauga County Sheriff’s Office Detective Juanita Vetter told “Snapped.”

By the early ‘90s, Randy was in his mid-30s and newly divorced. He began frequenting a pub called The Greenville Inn in the nearby town of Chagrin Falls, Ohio, where he met 40-year-old Doretta Boyce. She had grown up in working class East Cleveland, and like Randy, was on the rebound after a failed marriage. Her husband, David Rowles, with whom she had three children, had left her, and she was now a single mother.

“She was the mom that all of us would want to have,” said Sonny Battaglia, whose daughter was involved with Doretta’s son. “You could pick up the phone, call Doretta virtually anytime, say, ‘I'm in a bind. I need this.’ Doretta would drop everything and go out of her way to try to make that happen for you."

Those close to Randy and Doretta were happy they had found each other. Doretta quickly adopted Randy’s favorite pass times: snowboarding and motorcycling.

“She would hop on the back of any snowmobile or motorcycle he had, you know, if not ride her own,” Jason Tibbs, who worked for Randy, told “Snapped.”

Randy and Doretta eventually moved in together, along with two of her children. Though he never had kids of his own, Sonny Battaglia said Randy quickly adapted to being a “full-time dad,” especially to her 11-year-old son David Rowles Jr, who went by the nickname Tig.

“Randy really kind of took him in as his own son,” friend Ralph Dickenson told “Snapped.”

In 2002, after being a couple for 10 years, Randy and Doretta finally decided to make it official and were married following a health scare.

“Randy became diabetic later in life, and just decided he wanted to take care of Doretta,” said Ralph Dickenson. Doretta soon began working with Randy at Scheffield Lawns, taking over the books from his mother, and so did Tig when he was old enough.

“Randy wasn't easy on Tig; he didn't just hand him things. Randy actually taught that boy everything,” said Sonny Battaglia. 

For years, Randy, Doretta and Tig lived together in the home and attached garage, which Scheffield Lawns operated out of. Then, in 2010, Tig started dating 27-year-old hair dresser Gina Battaglia. They soon got a place of their own and had a child. Randy and Doretta began to think of retiring. Business was booming, and it was assumed Tig would take over the reins. That’s when everything went sideways.

On the evening of December 27, 2011, the crew at Scheffield Lawns was expecting the first big snowfall of the season and readying their snowplows. Jason Tibbs said he stopped by the house and found Doretta, Tig, Gina and other employees waiting around, but no sign of Randy. It was assumed he was resting upstairs, preparing for the long night ahead.

When Doretta went to roust him, Jason told “Snapped,” “I heard the most horrific shrill of a scream.”

Randy was lying unresponsive on their bed, with blood coming out of his ear. Tig called 911, but when paramedics arrived, they found Randy cold to the touch with no pulse. They tried moving his arm, and found it stiff, rigor mortis was setting in. Randy Scheffield was dead at the age of 53.

Geauga County Sheriff’s Office Detective Juanita Vetter arrived on the scene, but found Doretta Scheffield despondent and unable to answer any questions. Initially, no one suspected foul play or anything out of the ordinary.

As Randy’s sister Melody Scheffield told “Snapped,” “He was in his 50s, so there’s a possibility of heart attack. He was diabetic. He had health issues from that.”

Jason Tibbs agreed: “For all intents and purposes, it looked like he had an aneurysm and blood bled out his ear or something.”

However, EMTs on the scene discovered a small wound on the back of Randy’s head, which was not consistent with an aneurism or cardiac event. They looked around the room, wondering if he had fallen and hit his head, but instead found an empty gun box.

Juanita Vetter told “Snapped” that when Doretta was asked where the gun was, she replied, “I don’t even know. I hate guns. I don’t touch guns.”

With an unexplained head wound and a missing gun, police began suspecting something was amiss. After taking Randy’s body to the hospital for examination, they discovered a small caliber bullet lodged in the back of his head.

At first, Detective Vetter wondered if she was dealing with a suicide.

“I’ve had many suspicious deaths that I’ve investigated that the family is very sensitive to the issue of suicide, and will literally remove the gun from a scene and hide it because they don’t want people to realize that their loved ones have committed suicide,” she told “Snapped.”

When Doretta Scheffield was questioned at the police station that night, she said she had seen Randy in the morning, before going out to run errands. She returned home and found his bedroom door shut tight, and assumed he was resting to get ready for work later. When Vetter told her Randy died from a gunshot wound and asked if it could have been suicide, Doretta replied, “No, he wouldn't hurt himself,” then became hysterical, thus ending the interview.

The following day, after performing an autopsy on Randy Scheffield and studying the trajectory of the bullet that killed him, the coroner determined he couldn’t have committed suicide.

Randy was murdered.

Suspicion turned to a strange man in a red shirt who had been seen walking back and forth in the neighborhood. Police wondered if Randy had died in a robbery attempt gone wrong. However, the angle at which the bullet went into the back of Randy’s head made that scenario unlikely.

 “The bullet came in at an angle where they had to have knelt down and been at the same level as his head to shoot,” Vetter explained to “Snapped.” “If it’s a burglar and there’s a confrontation, they’re going to shoot from a standing position.”

The Geauga County Sheriff’s Office began a murder investigation. They interviewed Tig Rowles and asked if Randy had any enemies. He told them around Thanksgiving, Randy had fired three black males who worked for Sheffield Lawns, who were angry they wouldn’t have money for Christmas.

However, when they interviewed Jason Tibbs, he told them, “There were no three black guys, it never happened.”

Tibbs also told police Tig was growing anxious for Randy to retire, but that secretly, Randy didn’t trust Tig to run the business he had built from the ground up. 

Soon after, police received a phone call from a woman who claimed to be Gina Battaglia’s best friend. She said that Gina also had been frustrated that Randy hadn’t retired yet and handed over the business to Tig.

“She made the comment that, you know, I got to find a way to off Randy Scheffield,” Geauga County Sheriff Thomas Lombardo told “Snapped.”

When police asked about her whereabouts on the day of the murder, Gina said she went over to the Sheffield’s that afternoon, however, her cell phone data showed her near the home that morning.

“We suspected that Gina had definitely had some part in [the murder],” said Lombardo.

As police continued their investigation, they received a phone call from Randy’s mother, Rebecca Sheffield. Rebecca said that Sheffield Lawns’ mail was sent to her house, which Doretta would collect each week. Rebecca noticed multiple letters from the Ohio Department Of Taxation in the months before Randy’s death. She finally decided to open one and learned that the company owed the state more than $100,000, and a tax lien had been placed on the company.

When she confronted Doretta, she replied, “I messed up. Please don’t tell Randy,” according to Geaga County Assistant Prosecutor Nick Burling.

Investigators now felt they had a clear motive — either Randy found out about Doretta messing up the books, or was about to, and in a moment of panic she killed him, with the help of her son and his girlfriend.

“She was losing everything. Not only was she losing everything, but her son was losing everything. I think the motherly instinct in her is like, ‘I’m gonna protect my family’. And she snapped,” said Juanita Vetter.

Unfortunately, most of their evidence was circumstantial. Cell phone data showed Doretta was home at the time of Randy’s murder, and that she and Gina had lied about their movements that day, but there were no witnesses and no murder weapon. It would take four years before prosecutors felt confident enough to bring charges against Doretta, Tig, and Gina, which they did in March 2015.

Doretta Sheffield went on trial for the murder of her husband Randy the following autumn. After an eight-day trial and three days of deliberations, the jury found her guilty on all counts,  according to The News Herald, which included aggravated murder, murder and tampering with evidence on September 29, 2015. Just over a month later, she was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison, plus another 30 months for tampering with evidence. 

In January 2016, prosecutors were preparing for the trials of David “Tig” Rowles Jr. and his girlfriend Gina Battaglia. However, at the last minute, they decided to dismiss charges against Tig, with Geauga County Assistant Prosecutor Jennifer Driscoll saying, “The State of Ohio believes that it would be unable to prove the allegations in the indictment beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Prosecutors were far more confident about their case against Gina Battaglia, which included charges for conspiracy to commit aggravated murder. With her trial scheduled to begin on January 12, 2016, Gina cut a deal with prosecutors and pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence and obstruction of justice. On March 4, 2016, she was sentenced to two years in prison for each count, with her sentences to run concurrently. She was released 10 months early in 2017. Doretta Sheffield is now 67, and she will be eligible for parole in 2042.

[Photo: "Snapped" Screengrab]

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