Fatal Beauty: Former Miss Savannah Breaks Silence about Killing - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

Fatal Beauty: Former Miss Savannah Breaks Silence about Killing Boyfriend

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SAVANNAH, GA - Eleven years ago Savannah ignited worldwide attention when the city's beauty queen of just 4 months was charged with the murder of her boyfriend.
Nikki Redmond was acquitted after facing life in prison.
She has remained quiet about her personal life until now.
In her Memoir- Nikki shares some painful details about her life and the night everything changed.
In an interview you will see only on News 3, Nikki talked with me about the ridicule, disgrace, and dangerously unnerving chapters in her life.
 "I'm doing well you know.  It has been a very long healing process.  There have been different stages of the process.  "Overall I can't say that I live tearfully, I live more cheerfully than anything."
Today Nikki Redmond is happy, raising her six year old daughter Alayna.
Crowned Miss Savannah in 2003, she was on top of the world but the glitter and glamour of her life as a beauty queen quickly tarnished….when she ended up an accused murderer.
Redmond was charged in the death of her boyfriend Kevin Shorter.
Redmond's high profile murder trial dominated national news headlines, but after more than two weeks of riveting testimony, she was acquitted.
Since the verdict she's moved on with her life and has not spoken much publicly about the case until now in a tell all book……titled "Beyond The Sash", A Memoir.
"For so many years I have allowed other people to tell my story and tell it inaccurately."
She says she felt it was time to tell her own account of what happened and how the case changed her life.
Proud of how she was raised, she's not so proud of what she says she lacked …good judgement in men.
In her book Redmond writes about two relationships with men she describes as abusive drug dealers.
She fell in love first with a man who called himself "Tony".
"It was mesmerizing, and it was intoxicating, and it was exciting to the point of danger."
Tony was later sentenced to 14 years in federal prison.
Redmond made the decision to continue her college education.
During that time, she met and fell in love with Kevin Shorter.
"Was Kevin into drugs as well?"
"Yes"
Referring to Kevin in the book only as her Ex, Redmond tells how their love spiraled into abuse.
"It gets alcohol added to it, it gets drugs added to it, it gets you know you knowing that there is another sexual partner outside of yourself but you look away from it and deal with it.  Our relationship was not good for either one of us.  We had the ability to bring out the worst in each other."
And that's exactly what they did on December 16, 2003.
Another woman Shorter was seeing had been receiving threatening phone calls--
Accused of making those calls, Redmond went to the woman's home.
"There was no confrontation, there was no arguing, no anger, nothing."
The calm quickly turned into chaos.
"He arrived, he was angry. My action was out of fear.  It was never out of anger."
Redmond says she fired a shot in the air.
"The bullet hit his car, slid off the car, and went into his butt."
Three days later Kevin Shorter died.
"I couldn't believe he was gone. I was sad, I was devastated, and I even felt…I felt betrayed.  I absolutely was at a point that I would just lay there and close my eyes and just wish that you know maybe I won't wake up."
Facing life in prison without the possibility of parole Redmond went on trial 2 years later.
She would either walk free or go to prison for the rest of her life.
As the world watched, the 2005 trial ended as intensely as it started.
 "The case of the State of Georgia against Sharron Nicole Redmond: count one- malice murder: We the jury find the defendant not guilty.
"As I heard the judge keep repeating the words not guilty I just started crying. i just sobbed."
All I could do was mouth to them thank you."
11 years later Redmond maintains the shooting was in self defense
"Do you take responsibility for Kevin Shorter's death?"
 "I can't say that I take responsibility for Kevin Shorter's death.  I take responsibility and I always have for my actions and for why I acted."
"If I could have done one thing differently the night I met him would have never happened." 
Nikki Redmond never mentions Kevin Shorter's name in her book.
She calls him her ex.
She told me she assured his parents that she would never try to make money off of his name. 
Nikki says the royalties will be used for scholarships for Savannah students.
I did reach out to the Shorter family for their thoughts now that Nikki has written a book.
Their Attorney Jeff Lasky said they have no comment.

(Part Two)

"I take responsibility and I always have for my actions and for why I acted.  I always will.  I will never change." If I could have done one thing differently  the night I met him would have never happened." 
from her home in North Georgia Former Miss Savannah Nikki Redmond clearly reflects on a valuable yet costly lesson.
It was December 16, 2003.
"There was no confrontation, there was no arguing, no anger, nothing.  It was a very brief exchange…okay thank you, thank you."
The calm quickly turned into chaos.
"He arrived, he was angry, my action was out of fear.  It was never out of anger."
Redmond says she fired a shot in the air.
"The bullet hit his car, slid off the car, and went into his butt."
 What appeared to be a non-life threatening gunshot wound turned out to be deadly.
 Kevin Shorter died 3 days later- and Redmond was charged with murder.
"It is the most unnerving belittling experience that you will ever feel.  You are put in a holding cell for hours.  You are treated like you are nobody.  You are a criminal.”
In 2005 this well educated high school teacher faced a jury in one of the most highly publicized trials in Georgia history.
"Not only was I painted to look like a crazed jealous beauty queen who had to have everything her way.  Not only was I torn down the night of the incident and in court as the prosecuting attorneys continued to repeat the things that he had said that night to just really berate me."
11 years later Redmond opens up about her ordeal and the trial in a tell all book titled "Beyond The Sash", A Memoir.
"Being transparent is difficult, but I made the choice to do it because hopefully it inspires someone else to one day share his or her story."
Savannah Attorney Michael Schiavone represented Redmond in the criminal trial.
 "It was also a very difficult case for me because I also knew her.  She was friends with my daughter." 
Today he still believes in her innocence.
"There was never any question on the physical evidence that she fired the gun away from him.  She had no intent to hurt him.  She just wanted to slow him down.  Unfortunately the bullet hit the back of his automobile and it ricocheted down the side, and it was just a chain of events that turned out tragic for both of them."
Schiavone says he's not surprised that Redmond is telling her story.
"She's a very lucky person because there's a thin line in walking out of court with me in a criminal murder trial and spending the rest of your life in prison."
"My entire trial the jury never looked at me never….not one time.  After that last verdict was read all 12 of them turned and looked at me, and it was the first time that I knew they saw a person sitting there.  They didn't see this character that had been painted for them."
Two years following the trial Redmond got married and later took on another new role…mom.
Six year old Alayna is her joy.
being a parent has given her a new appreciation for her experience.
It's something she says she will share with her daughter in time.
"Simply because I want her to know yep your mama went through it.  I'm here I survived it.
I try to build a better life after it and I learned from my mistakes,  and I want you to always be able to do the same thing."
While Redmond has been gone from Savannah for some time now, she says she is grateful for friends and family here who stood by her during the trial.
 She says she left Savannah because she did not want to live being Miss Savannah everyday.
 She plans to donate royalties from her book for scholarships in Savannah.
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