"They had a life too;" Remembering mother, daughter murdered in 1986

UNION COUNTY, Tenn. (WVLT) -- When Wanda and Sheila Romines were murdered in Union County in 1986, their killers destroyed the lives of what one man called a "happy family."

Libby Brinkley mourns Sheila Romines on the night of her killer's execution. Source: WVLT News

Eddie Campbell was the nephew of Wanda Romines and the cousin of her daughter, 15-year-old Sheila Romines, who were both killed.

Campbell said the Romines were a "happy family, average family."

Campbell was scheduled to be one of the few witnesses for Wanda and Sheila when one of their attackers, Stephen West, faces execution on August 15. But he wanted people to know that it was their lives, not their deaths, that mattered.

"I want people to know they had a life, too," Campbell said. "Their life was worth a lot as well."

Sheila was freshman at Anderson County High School and was, Campbell said, a star basketball player. "She was a good basketball player, really athletic."

She was a part of Anderson County High's class of '89. Many of them gathered at the high school Thursday night to hold a vigil in Sheila and Wanda's honor.

"She had such a beautiful open heart," Libby Brinkley said of her close friend. "We planned to go to college together and be in each other's weddings and raise our kids together."

Sheila had hopes of one day making the Tennessee team and playing under Pat Summitt.

Wanda was a loving wife and mother.

"That jet-black hair," Barbara Ridenour remembered. Her father was the lead detective with the Anderson County Sheriff's Office on the case. "I was used to him working many, many cases but this one really hit home."

Wanda's husband, and Sheila's father, Jack Romines, died in 2008. Now, the whole family rests together at a Union County cemetery, right across the street from where they all once lived.

"It's a sad thing to look at, but it's a pretty thing, too. They lay there together," Campbell said.

Campbell, and one of Wanda's children from a previous marriage, will be in Nashville for the execution of West.

"I'm glad it'll be done. It should've been done a long time ago," Campbell said.

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Sheila Romines / Source: Anderson County High School