Existing Central Courthouse in downtown San Diego.  Photo by Chris Stone
Existing Central Courthouse in downtown San Diego. Photo by Chris Stone

A parolee who beat and fatally stabbed a prostitute in her City Heights apartment, then dumped her body in a water-filled bathtub, was convicted Thursday of first-degree murder.

Frank Dwayne Shaw — whose prior record includes convictions for armed robbery — faces 82 years to life in state prison. A sentencing date may be set Friday after a hearing on the defendant’s past convictions.

After several days of deliberations, a jury found Shaw guilty in the August 2012 death of 48-year-old Maureen Skeffington, a known prostitute.

Skeffington — who was addicted to cocaine — was killed sometime between 10 p.m. and midnight on Aug. 26, 2012, Deputy District Attorney Brian Erickson said in his opening statement. Skeffington had her nose broken and was stabbed twice in the neck, he said.

The prosecutor said police went to the victim’s apartment on Cherokee Avenue on Aug. 28, 2012, after neighbors and friends said they hadn’t seen her in a couple of days.

Based on blood evidence in her room, police theorized that Skeffington was killed on her bed, then dumped in the bathtub, Erickson said.

A woman living in an adjacent garage heard a man yelling and also heard thumping noises the night of Aug. 26, 2012, which she thought were two people having sex, Erickson said.

The prosecutor said Shaw’s DNA was found on the bed, on a kitchen cabinet and on a bathtub handle.

According to court testimony, Shaw and Skeffington were in communication by phone the night of Aug. 26. 2012, when Shaw — who had met the victim at a youth football game — wanted to pay for sex with her.

Shaw, 37, proposed paying for a sex act with drugs, but Skeffington insisted that he pay cash, police said.

In October 2012, Shaw told police that he was in an alley next to Skeffington’s apartment that night, but got nervous and left after five minutes because he had methamphetamine on him and didn’t want to get in trouble, according to the prosecutor.

Shaw denied having sex with the victim and denied going into her apartment that night, the prosecutor said.

Defense attorney Kara Oien said Skeffington’s killing was brutal.

“It was personal. It wasn’t someone who barely knew her. It wasn’t Frank Shaw,” Oien said.

The attorney said Shaw’s DNA was in Skeffington’s apartment because he had used her services in the past. Other men’s DNA was found in the apartment and Shaw was excluded in at least 40 DNA tests, the defense attorney said.

She also said Shaw had no motive to kill Skeffington.

— City News Service