Murder of devoted mother Danielle Pruett by Shaun Wakefield: Examined by The Murder Tapes

Mugshot of Shaun Matthew Wakefield
Shaun Matthew Wakefield was sentenced to 57-years for murdering Danielle Pruett. Pic credit: Tazewell County Sheriff’s Office

The Murder Tapes look at the case of Danielle Pruett, a mother of three children, who was horribly murdered in Tazewell County, Virginia. The 29-year-old was reported missing on March 17, 2016, after an extensive search by multiple law enforcement agencies her body was found the next day in some secluded woods.

Pruett had died from a blunt-force trauma; her nude body was covered in a blanket, and her clothing had been left in various places strewn over the ground.

Shaun Matthew Wakefield came under suspicion for the murder very quickly. Video surveillance of him and Pruett proved that he had been the last person to see her alive.

Wakefield’s movements had been recorded

At the time of the murder, Wakefield was out on bond, having been charged with larceny for the third time, and he was also accused of altering a drug screen. He had an extensive criminal record that included burglary, larceny, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and drug charges.

As part of his bail conditions, he was required to wear an electronic ankle bracelet, which allowed officers to track his movements on the day of the murder, and they were able to place him at the murder scene. He had also been spotted driving Pruett’s car before it was abandoned.

He was arrested on March 29, and charged with capital murder, larceny of a motor vehicle, and of concealing a body.

Wakefield reached a plea agreement with Tazewell the County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office, thereby avoiding the death penalty, unfortunately, for him, he was sentenced in September 2018 to 57-years in prison, without the possibility of parole.

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At the sentencing, two letters from two of Pruett’s children were read out; they both wrote of the heartbreak that Wakefield had caused them. Pruett’s daughter wrote, “I hope you have pain and regret for the rest of your miserable life as you sit behind bars.”

Her brother-in-law described Pruett as,” the sweetest, kindest young lady, you will ever meet … a devoted, hard-working mother to her children.”

More from The Murder Tapes

Follow the links to read about other crimes profiled in The Murder Tapes. Maurice Goins was murdered by his homeless friend Charles Muscatello who then robbed his TV. Muscatello claims he killed him because he made a pass at him.

In another case, a young mother, Bianca Rainer, was murdered in Arkansas after sex offender Harold Bennett absconded without informing the sex offender registry.

The Murder Tapes air from 9/8c on Investigation Discovery.

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3 years ago

Any developments come of this?

3 years ago


3 years ago

Such a shame! A young mother $elling drugs instead of caring for her three lit’l ones. Hope this harsh lesson in living your life right helps other mothers from Danielle’s fatal downfall. Saw her killer was most likely killed while in prison but feel for the children left w/o a mommy!

2 months ago
Reply to  Ms007

Shame on you for judging. You never know what anyone is going through.

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