Ohio woman found guilty of murder in shooting death of ex-boyfriend
(Daily Mail) NEWPORT, Ohio – A jury tasked with deciding the fate of a woman accused of shooting to death her ex-boyfriend on Thursday rejected her claim of self-defense, finding her guilty of first-degree murder.
The 12 jurors deliberated for nearly five hours before convicting 24-year-old Shayna Hubers in the 2013 slaying of attorney Ryan Poston, reported the Cincinnati Inquirer.
Hubers never denied shooting Poston, her off-again, on-again lover, six times in his penthouse apartment in Ohio, but argued that she killed him to protect herself because he was physically attacking her.
The night Poston was shot dead he was supposed to meet a former Miss Ohio 2012 beauty queen for a date, the Ohio court heard.
Audrey Bolte, who also finished runner-up in Miss USA, told prosecutors she was looking forward to seeing Poston, 29, at a bar to play pool and drink on October 12, 2012, but he failed to arrive.
Dozens of Ryan Poston’s family members, including his mother, Lisa, and his two sisters, were present in the packed courtroom across the Ohio River in in Newport, Kentucky, to hear the long-awaited verdict, which was delivered at around 11.30pm Thursday, after nine days of testimony.
Upon hearing the word ‘guilty,’ the victim’s family members and friends broke down in tears and quietly comforted one another.
Shayna Hubers, dressed in a white sweater with her hair in a loose ponytail, appeared impassive and kept her eyes locked on the judge when the verdict was read aloud.
Both her parents were in the audience. She was seen casting a glance at them as she was being led out of the courtroom en route to the Campbell County Detention Center, where she has been held since the night of the murder.
In the wake of the conviction, the Poston family released a statement via a spokesperson to the Inquirer.
‘The senselessness of this action is a tragedy for all families – both Ryan’s and his assailant’s,’ the statement read. ‘And while we wish that this trial could bring Ryan back to us, we understand that it can only provide justice. The same kind of justice that Ryan sought for his clients everyday. Ryan believed in the legal system. And today it worked.’
In his closing arguments, Hubers’ attorney, David Mejia, re-enacted the shooting, using the table where Poston was gunned down as a prop.
Mejia argued that Poston remained standing and was trying to go after Hubers until the last of the six shots.
‘Bang, bang … pause, bleeding … bang, bang, bang, bang and down he went to the floor,’ Mejia said as he pretended to collapse, reported WLWT.
Prosecutor Michelle Snodgrass presented an entirely different version of events.
Relying on the testimony of the prosecution’s forensic experts, Snodgrass stated that Poston was shot while seated at the table.
‘There is no other justification for six bullets, there is no justification for her comment after comment after comment about, “I knew he was just about dead and he was twitching so I thought I’d put him out of his misery,”’ Snodgrass said. ‘That is cold-blooded murder.’
In the course of the trial, the court also heard how days before the shooting, Hubers said to a friend that she was planning to take Poston to a gun range, and that she wanted to kill him and make it look like an accident.
In his remarks to the jury, defense attorney David Mejia invoked the ‘stand-your-ground’ defense, arguing that because his client felt threatened, she was not obligated to stop firing on Poston after the first shot, according to the station WCPO.
The prosecution, however, countered by saying that six shots amounted to murder.
Snodgress called Hubers a ‘manipulator’ who was willing to say anything to get away with murder.
Shayna Hubers’ sentencing is scheduled to take place at 10am Friday.
Earlier in the trial, the jury heard how the night of the murder, Ryan Poston was supposed to meet a former Miss Ohio 2012 beauty queen for a date.
Audrey Bolte, who also finished runner-up in Miss USA, told prosecutors last week she was looking forward to seeing Poston, 29, at a bar to play pool and drink on October 12, 2012, but he failed to arrive.
That was because Shayna Hubers had shot him six times at home – during which she allegedly ‘cackled’ with glee claimed a cellmate of the accused, who said the 24-year-old confessed to her while behind bars.
Her trial began last Monday and during that time, Hubers has been held at the Campbell County jail in Newport.
Her romer cellmate testified to the court that Hubers joked about the shooting and said she was going to get off all charges.
‘Did she ever laugh?’ Commonwealth’s Attorney Michelle Snodgrass asked Cecily Miller according to Cincinnati.com.
‘About shooting him in the face and giving him the nose job he always wanted,’ said Miller. ‘That’s what bothered me – she cackled.’
Miller said that Hubers realized she was too intelligent to plead insanity, ‘So she was going to plead battered wife syndrome.’
Lisa and Peter Carter, who raised Poston said that their son was concerned about ending things with Hubers.
He said to me, ‘My biggest issue is … Shayna is always around,” said Peter Carter, according to Cincinnati.com. ‘He said, ‘I don’t know what to do to get her to leave.”
‘I told him to make sure that he was kind to Shayna and to be honest with her about what was going on,’ he said. ‘I told him to be direct, but to be kind.’
However, Carter said he never got to find out the answer because Poston died the next night.
Also on the stand last week was Vernon West, who lived in the condo below Poston with his wife Doris.
They testified they returned home at around 8.30pm and heard a woman crying on a balcony above.
West said that she returned inside the home at around 8.50pm and then he heard two pops that at first he thought were fireworks and then four more and then a thud.
‘The first two shots, I thought might have been fireworks,’ Vernon West testified according to Cincinnati.com.
‘But a few seconds later, I heard four shots, and I knew that wasn’t fireworks.’
Vernon West also said that they did not hear a physical fight or arguing before the shots.
Hubers, who was 21 at the time, claimed she was acting in self-defense because the young attorney was shoving and hitting her, but during an interview with police she was quoted as telling a detective she gave Posten ‘the nose job he wanted.’
On the first day of testimony, jurors were shown a video of the defendant’s interview with police following the slaying.
‘He was screaming at me at the top of his lungs after he had thrown me around the room,’ the woman told a detective sitting across from her, reported Cincinnati.com.
‘I shot him enough times to kill him,’ she said, ‘so that he wouldn’t suffer… He was laying there, twitching and making noises, and I shot him in the head.
‘I was watching him die. it was painful to watch him die and to know that I had done that,’ reported WCPO.
Hubers then described her late boyfriend of one year as ‘vain’ about his looks.
‘I shot him right here,’ she said in the video as she pointed to her nose. ‘I gave him his nose job he wanted.’
Prosecutors argued that the woman intentionally shot the attorney six times across a table, including once in the face, after Poston tried to end their relationship.
Hubers’ attorneys have maintained that their client shot Poston to protect herself.
During questioning, Hubers explained to detectives that she went to Poston’s home ‘with the best intentions’ not to kill him, but to convince him to work out their differences and mend their relationship.
But when she arrived, Poston allegedly ‘resorted to violence.’
The woman said the lawyer made fun of her speaking voice, insulted her family, and physically assaulted her by pushing and dragging her around.
She detailed how the 29-year-old victim allegedly pushed her down against the arm of the couch and threw her against furniture in the moments before the first shot rang out.
‘He said, ‘You’re just a hillbilly from Kentucky.’ And I am. I guess the hillbilly came out in me, and I took up for myself,’ she told police in the recording played in court.
Hubers’ trial is expected to last two weeks. She is being held in jail on $1.5million bond.
Ryan Poston graduated from Salmon P. Chase College of Law, Northern Kentucky University in 2008, following in the footsteps of his grandfather and uncle. In May 2012, he started his own law practice specializing in personal injury cases in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio.
His family and friends have described him as a bright and hard-working young lawyer who had a promising future ahead of him. He is survived by his parents and three sisters.
Hubers graduated from Lexington’s Paul Laurence Dunbar High School in 2009.
In the fall of 2010, she made the Dean’s List at the University of Kentucky as a sophomore psychology major. Zevely said she is close with her parents, and her mother spent the day with her in Northern Kentucky prior to the shooting.