McKean County District Attorney Stephanie Vettenburg-Shaffer has announced her candidacy for the Republican Party’s nomination for re-election as District Attorney.
While working at area businesses and interning at the Federal Correctional Institution, Shaffer attended the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford. After graduating from UPB in 1998 with a degree in criminal justice, she was employed by McKean County Children and Youth Services as a Caseworker and as a Foster Care Coordinator. While working at CYS, Shaffer earned her juris doctorate degree, with a concentration in criminal law, from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 2003.
Shaffer has practiced law in McKean County for 15 years. While a partner in the Bradford Law Firm of Clarke & Shaffer, Shaffer was appointed, by the Court, to be the McKean County Guardian Ad Litem -- with the responsibility of representing the welfare of the County’s dependent children. She served the Court in that capacity for 9 years. From 2007 to 2015, Shaffer served as the Special Assistant Public Defender of McKean County - with responsibility for representing the County’s indigent criminal defendants. Shaffer was elected District Attorney in 2015 and began her current term of office in January 2016.
District Attorney Shaffer said: “It has been the greatest privilege of my life to serve the people of McKean County as their District Attorney. My time, my thoughts, and my energy – belong to my fellow citizens. As the County’s chief law enforcement official, my focus is on whether a crime can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt - without any personal or improper considerations to influence the performance of my duties.”
As District Attorney, Shaffer has established a trial conviction rate of nearly 88%. She convicted Paul Morrisroe, at trial, for the Homicide by Vehicle of Dakota Heinaman. She convicted James Fowler, at trial, for one of the largest cocaine operations in County history – and secured the forfeiture of his home to the people. She secured, at trial, the 1st meth lab conviction after an epidemic of meth cases beginning in 2018. She secured, at trial, the 1st Drug Delivery Resulting in Death conviction in the County’s history. The defendant was convicted for illegally delivering fentanyl-a synthetic opiate- to a man and the man died from ingesting the drug.
As District Attorney, Shaffer convicted, at trial, Holly Gausman of Arson, Conspiracy Arson, Insurance Fraud, Theft by Deception and other crimes for intentionally setting her residence in Kane on fire. She convicted, at trial, Shaine Miller of Aggravated Assault, Terroristic Threats, Recklessly Endangering Another Person, and other crimes relating to pulling a gun on a victim and threatening him.
In the 1st 3 years of her current term, Shaffer has addressed or attended over 150 civic groups or events on topics such as child abuse, sexual violence, safety to first responders, scams targeting the elderly, gun rights, and school safety. Shaffer also testified before the Center for Rural Pennsylvania on the opioid crisis.
District Attorney Shaffer said: “The effective prosecution of crime is not a political issue. The purpose of the criminal law is to protect the innocent by punishing the guilty. My trial performance, and that of my office, are ones of acknowledged accomplishment and have effectively served the purpose of protecting the law-abiding citizens of McKean County.”
“I believe that my performance as District Attorney demonstrates that I have the commitment, the experience, the integrity, and the ability to vigilantly serve and to vigorously protect my fellow citizens and their families. I would be honored to receive the voters’ support and their influence in the May 21, 2019 Republican Primary.”
Shaffer has lived in McKean County for 25 years. She has served on the Boards of the United Way, the YWCA, the Guidance Center, and Northwest Legal Services. She continues to support local agencies, including the McKean County SPCA. Currently, she is a Board Member of the Bradford Exchange Club. She and her husband, Brian, reside in Foster Township.