Volusia family grateful for life sentence for man accused of killing daughter



VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. - A Volusia County man who shot and killed his former girlfriend at a Burger King was sentenced to prison Tuesday after accepting a plea deal.

Jesus Morales was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole after pleading guilty in the shooting death of Heidi Shelmire. He was charged with first-degree murder in her death.
Morales, 44, shot Shelmire, 38, inside the DeBary restaurant where she worked in September 2011.

Just days after the shooting Morales told Channel 9's Blaine Tolison he didn't remember killing Shelmire, but said that he had his best night's sleep in years after being taken to jail.

Surveillance video from inside the Burger King showed Morales pointing a gun before he opened fire, according to investigators.

He was in and out in a matter of minutes.

According to authorities, Morales had been out of jail for a week for violating and injunction Shelmire filed against him.

Investigators said Morales told them he planned to kill Shelmire.

“Heidi was a big part of our lives,” said Shelmire’s brother, Devin Smith.

Shelmire's family said they agreed to the terms of the plea agreement which meant Morales avoided the possibility of a death sentence if a jury found him guilty.

"I want us to move on and I'm just so grateful to the public, our community and the state's attorney for putting him away," said Shelmire's mother, Mary Silva.

Shelmire's daughter is now 9 years old and family members told Channel 9's Blaine Tolison that the girl is in school and doing well.

Had Morales not agreed to the plea deal his trial would have started next week.