Shaw was raised by a working couple, his mother and stepfather. He dropped out of Parker High School in the 10th grade and began sleeping away from home at friend's houses. He began his crime spree with a series of carjackings starting in February 2006. In late May he carried out three carjackings in a single day, one of which yielded a .38-caliber Titan revolver. He fired the gun during a robbery of a doctor's apartment on June 7, and then used it when he and Evans robbed and killed Hill two days later. The fatal shot came from Hill's own .38, which was taken along with a few dollars, some jewelry and a new red Ford pickup truck.
After learning that Evans was bragging about the murder and wearing and giving away some of the jewelry stolen from Hill's house, Shaw went looking for him. He found him at his grandparents' house on the evening of June 13. His argument with Evans prompted Mrs Martin to come downstairs to check on her grandson while Mr Martin, enfeebled by hip surgeries and arthritis, remained upstairs. Shaw killed all three of them, bound their bodies in plastic sheeting, blankets and duct tape, and disposed of their bodies in an overgrown ravine just south of Reader's Gap near Borah Avenue in Muscoda.
Shaw was captured shortly afterward and convicted on federal and state charges in the carjackings and the attempted murder of the physician. In prison he bragged to a cellmate that he couldn't be prosecuted in the murders because the bodies would never be found. A surveyor did find them, however, in December 2006. On the advice of his attorneys, Emory Anthony and Eric Guster, Shaw pleaded guilty to the four homicides in January 2008. A jury found that the plea was proved beyond a reasonable doubt based on physical evidence and witness testimony. Judge Alfred Bahakel sentenced him to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
- Velasco, Eric (January 14, 2008) "Derrol Shaw, 20, agrees to plead guilty to four Birmingham murders." Birmingham News
- Velasco, Eric (January 16, 2008) "Derrol Shaw used and 81-year-old grandmother as a shield before shooting her and her grandson, trial testimony shows." [sic] Birmingham News
- Velasco, Eric (January 20, 2008) "Couple takes in grandson, but move opens door for a killer ." Birmingham News