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Judge nixes jury help in Indiana County murder

| Saturday, April 6, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

A request for $10,000 to appoint a jury consultant in an Indiana County murder case has been denied.

Public defenders for Shaun Casey Fairman, 33, of Washington Township, wanted to hire a Philadelphia firm to assist with jury selection in his trial, which is scheduled to begin April 22. The motion was denied by Indiana County Judge William Martin.

Fairman is accused of fatally shooting his father-in-law, Richard Shotts, 55, through a kitchen window at a North Mahoning Township home last June. Fairman's estranged wife, Jessica Shotts, was staying at the house she once shared with her husband and their four children when the shooting occurred.

Police said Fairman stormed inside the home as he argued with his wife, who said she shot Fairman in self-defense after he gunned down her father. Jessica Shotts had obtained a protection-from-abuse court order against her husband and their divorce was pending. Her parents stayed at the home overnight between June 2 and 3 because they feared what Fairman might do, according to earlier testimony.

Fairman's attorneys have filed notice that they plan to raise mental infirmity as a defense.

Jessica Shotts previously testified that after she saw her father lying dead on her floor, she grabbed a gun and fled upstairs. When Fairman followed her, she reached around a door and fired twice, hitting him in the shoulder and the arm. She 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 rsignorini@tribweb.com.

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