After deliberating for about four hours, a jury of six men and six women yesterday found Shaun Fairman guilty of second degree murder in the shooting death last June of his father-in-law, Richard Shotts, at a home south of Trade City in North Mahoning Township. Fairman, who had a blood-alcohol content of .248 at the time of the shooting and was depressed over his wife’s filing for divorce, had testified that he went to the home in order to kill himself in front of her. His attorneys had sought a verdict of guilty but insane, but the jury rejected that.
IN additon sto ssecond degree murder, Shaun Fairman was convicted on charges of aggravated assault, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and burglary, and was acquitted on a charge of theft in connection with the gun he used to shoot Shotts. How he came to be in possession of that gun was in dispute during the trial, with testimony offering two different versions of how he got the gun from a friend.
The aggravated assault chagres stem from what Fairman did after he shot Shotts. He went from room to room in the house, trying to find his wife and screaming out her name. Jessica Fairman was hiding in an upstairs bedroom, her mother and her children hidden in the home's attic. When Shaun Fairman reached her bedroom door, Jessica shot him in the shoulder, and then made him sit in a chair while she held him at gunpoint until police arrived.
District Attorney Patrick Dougherty said that they felt second-degree murder was an appropriate charge for Fairman, and also talked about why even though both sides agreed that Fairman had fired the shot that killed Shotts, this case still went to trial. Dougherty did not prosecute the case because his brother was one of the defene lawyers. However, the D.A. said that the reason the trial went on even though both sides agreed that Fairman shot Richard Shotts was because the defense tried to get a plea bargain of 3rd Degree Murder, which was declined by the DA's office, so public defenders Robert Dougherty and Ronald McKee felt it was best to go to trial, where they attempted to get a conviction of guilty but mentally insane.
Fairman is facing a mandatory life sentence without parole. He will be formally sentenced on May 28th.