Now acquitted, beauty queen puts murder trial behind her

ATLANTA - Sharon Nicole Redmond knows that as the last Miss Savannah, she will always carry the title. But she's doing her best to move on from the ordeal that made her title world-famous - murder charges that she fatally shot her two-timing fiance.

Four months after winning the beauty pageant title in 2003, Ms. Redmond was charged with shooting and killing Kevin Shorter during an argument in the yard of another woman.

A jury in 2005 acquitted her of the charges, saying they believed she acted in self-defense.

Now Ms. Redmond - who goes by Nikki - lives in the Atlanta area. She graduated summa cum laude from Spelman College in 2003 and earned a master's degree in education at Kennesaw State University last month.

She works for an Atlanta education group that helps private school teachers develop lesson plans.

Last October, she married the high school sweetheart who stood beside her during her trial.

"He was extremely supportive, wrote me and called me every day and night," she said.

Ms. Redmond said she hopes to one day open a private school that would teach black students about their history and culture.

She continues to sing, perform and write songs.

"It keeps me living and breathing," she said.

Ms. Redmond, who was 21 when she began dating her ex-fiance Mr. Shorter, said he began to show a different side a few months into their relationship.

Mr. Shorter would slap, grab and kick her, sometimes leaving bruises, according to court documents. He also was verbally abusive and would follow her around.

The two had been engaged for about three months when Ms. Redmond discovered that Mr. Shorter also was engaged to another woman.

On Dec. 16, 2003, all three were arguing in that woman's yard.

Ms. Redmond admitted shooting Mr. Shorter, but said the bullet was intended as a warning shot which ricocheted off Mr. Shorter's car and hit him.

Jurors said they believed Mr. Shorter had a gun, although police never found one.

Mr. Shorter's parents filed a $10 million wrongful death lawsuit against her. She responded with a $2 million countersuit, saying she was in fear for her life and suffered mental and physical abuse by Mr. Shorter.

Ms. Redmond said the incident has given her a "deeper outlook" on life and taught her to trust her instincts about people.

"You have to make your obstacles into your pedestals," she said.