Cleveland Elementary School Shooting

A little after 8 a.m on Monday, Jan. 29, 1979, parents in San Carlos, a pleasant suburb of the California seaside city of San Diego, started...

Sheila McCoy-Spencer


Sheila McCoy
Sheila McCoy 1977

Sheila McCoy was Brenda Spencer's cell mate at juvenile hall in San Diego between March and August 1979. Brenda's father, Wally met Sheila while visiting his daughter and invited her to stay at his house. Brenda says that Sheila invited herself and the absolute truth is unknown.

Sheila had turbulent upbringing and was arrested for arson. Her master plan was to burn down the apartment building, so her family had to move back to her home town of Ramona. Sheila knew Brenda from TV news and once joked about being roomed with her surprise, she landed in Brenda's cell. 

Sheila was  born on August 29th, 1962 and is about 5 months younger than Brenda and looked up to her in many ways. Brenda said, “She was just a weirdo, like a groupie. She thought what I did was something great, and I just can't go along with that kind of thinking.”

Before her 17th birthday, Sheila was transferred from juvenile hall to an open facility across the road. One day  she left the facility and moved in with Wally on Lake Atlin Ave. He told her that he was only 40 years old when in fact he was 50, either way they soon started a romantic relationship. 

Sheila became pregnant with Wally’s baby and Wally tried his best to hide her from sight. Shortly after Brenda pleaded guilty, one of the neighbors thought they had seen her leaving the house. They quickly called the police and detectives followed up by calling Brenda's lawyer.

“I can recall, about a year after Brenda was committed, getting a call from one of the detectives wondering what Brenda was doing out. This girl looked very similar to, very much like Brenda”, said Micheal McGlinn during a TV interview.

Wally and Sheila were discretely married in Arizona on 26th March 1980. Marrying someone so young was illegal in California without both parents agreement.She gave birth to Bree Spencer in September 1980 and hung around for about 5 years before being thrown out by Wally. Sheila did not stay friends with Brenda and never saw her daughter again.

Wally was investigated by the SDPD but no charges were ever filed.

Over the years, Sheila remarried a few times and eventually moved to Arizona. She hopes to reunite with her daughter now that Wally has passed away.