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Attorneys for Indiana County man plan mental-infirmity plea in father-in-law's murder case

Renatta Signorini
| Thursday, April 4, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Attorneys for an Indiana County man accused of killing his father-in-law plan to raise mental infirmity as a defense during his trial, scheduled to begin later this month.

Several doctors and paramedics appear on a potential witness list filed by public defenders representing Shaun Casey Fairman, 33, of Washington Township.

Defense attorneys Robert S. Dougherty and Donald L. McKee did not return phone messages Wednesday, nor did assistant district attorneys Pamela Miller and Matthew Ross.

On June 3, Fairman allegedly brought a gun to a North Mahoning Township home where his estranged wife, Jessica Shotts, was staying with their children and her parents. Fairman is accused of fatally shooting Richard Shotts, 55, through a kitchen window.

Fairman allegedly stormed inside the home as he followed Jessica Shotts as she ran upstairs. Shotts testified at a preliminary hearing that she shot Fairman in self-defense after he gunned down her father.

She had a protection from abuse court order against him and a divorce was pending. Her parents stayed at the home overnight between June 2 and 3 because they feared what Fairman might do, according to testimony.

Judge William Martin will rule at a later date on several pretrial motions filed by the defense. The defense is seeking a change of venue because of extensive media coverage.

Defense attorneys are asking the judge to sequester prospective jurors as they are questioned during the selection process and to sequester them during the trial.

The defense team wants the judge to authorize payment to The Advocates in Philadelphia for jury selection services, for an amount not to exceed $10,000, and an expert to test and analyze weapons found at Fairman's home at a cost not to exceed $5,000.

Jessica Shotts previously testified that she heard a gunshot and saw her father lying dead on her floor. She grabbed a gun and fled upstairs. Fairman allegedly followed her and she reached around a door and fired twice, hitting him in the shoulder and an arm. Shotts, who was at the home with two of the couple's four children, was not charged.

Shotts testified that she had asked Fairman in the past to get mental-health treatment because he threatened to commit suicide.

Fairman, who is charged with homicide, burglary, receiving stolen property and aggravated assault, is being held in the Indiana County Jail without bond.

Renatta Signorini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-837-5374 or

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