Philadelphia man sentenced after pleading guilty to murdering boyfriend, hiding body at arboretum in 2019

The negotiated plea takes into consideration the possibility that the killing was in self defense
Keshaun Sheffield
Keshaun Sheffield enters the courtroom for his sentencing hearing. Photo credit Jim Melwert/KYW Newsradio

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) — A Philadelphia man pleaded guilty to killing his boyfriend in 2019, burying the body in an East Germantown arboretum and sending texts from the victim’s phone to try to cover up the murder.

Keshaun Sheffield, 21, pleaded guilty to third degree murder and is sentenced to 12.5-30 years in prison.

In August, 2019, when Sheffield was 17-years-old, he stabbed and killed his boyfriend, 22-year-old Rashid Young, during a fight in the apartment they shared in Pottstown.

“Then afterwards, he got two friends to really unwittingly help him bury or dispose of Rashid's body. And ultimately, they buried him in a shallow grave in an arboretum in Philadelphia,” prosecutor Tom McGoldrick said.

Sheffield also admitted that he used Young’s phone and posed as him to send messages to Young’s family, saying he never wanted to see them again.

“I mean, the pain that that caused them is really unfathomable,” prosecutor Tom McGoldrick said.

Young’s body was found in September 2019, buried at Awbury Arboretum, but it wasn’t positively identified until May 2022.

Young’s father told Sheffield he thinks he got off lightly. McGoldrick says they took several factors into account as they worked out the negotiated plea, including Sheffield’s minor status at the time of the murder and the possibility that Sheffield killed Young in self defense.

“At the preliminary hearing, I think you heard that there had been domestic violence from the victim towards my client, in the relationship, at times,” Sheffield’s lawyer, Marni Jo Snyder, said.

Sheffield declined to speak on his own behalf during sentencing.

“The lack of comment was so that the family of the victim could feel like they were heard, that they were heard loud and clear, and that no spotlight at all was taken from their pain,” Snyder said.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Montgomery County District Attorney's Office