Shaun Fairman’s State Superior Court appeal of his conviction in the killing of his father-in-law took another step forward on Monday when he filed a brief in support of his contention that the weight of the evidence against him did not merit a conviction for second degree murder.
Fairman is serving life in prison for the death of Richard Shotts in June of 2012 at the North Mahoning Township home of Fairman’s wife, Jessica. The couple had separated and she had filed for divorce. Fairman claimed he went to the home intending to kill himself in front of his wife, but when her father would not let him in the house, he shot through a kitchen window, fatally wounding Shotts. Jessica and her children had fled upstairs. She sent the kids to the attic with her mother and she hid herself in a closet as Fairman went room-to-room searching for her. She shot him through the closet door and held him at gunpoint until police arrived.
Fairman’s previous appeals before Judge William Martin and Superior Court have been denied, but the appeals court last year ruled that his attorneys improperly failed to raise the weight of the evidence issue at trial. The court refused to rule on the case because it had not been addressed at the county court level.
In June, Judge Martin denied the weight of the evidence issue, effectively setting up Fairman’s appeal to Superior Court. The case is now listed as “under consideration”, with the next event being the filing of a brief by the Indiana County District Attorney, which must be submitted no later than November 28th.