Shayna Hubers in court Thursday afternoon (Photo: FOX19 NOW/Mike Woeste)
Shayna Hubers (Provided by the Campbell County jail)
Ryan Poston (FOX19 NOW File Photo)
Hubers entering the court room Friday for her sentencing (Photo: FOX19 NOW/Gordon Graham)
A Campbell County jury recommends Shayna Hubers spend 40 years behind bars for the 2012 murder of boyfriend Ryan Poston, jury members announced Friday afternoon. (Photo: FOX19 NOW/Gordon Graham)
CAMPBELL COUNTY, KY (FOX19) -
A Campbell County jury recommended Shayna Hubers, 24, spend 40 years behind bars for the 2012 murder of boyfriend Ryan Poston, jury members announced in April.
“What I think happened in that apartment was a little more than cold blooded murder,” stated Judge Fred A. Stine.
After denying Hubers' domestic violence claim, Stine sentenced Hubers to 40 years in prison Friday evening.
"It has been three long and brutal years as we sought justice for Ryan. Today we embrace that justice, and yet we do not feel joy on this day. It is another day of emptiness in our hearts for the loss of our beloved Ryan," said father of Ryan Poston, Jay Poston.
Defense attorney David Mejia asked the jury for a 20 year sentence saying Hubers many academic and social accomplishments deserved consideration, plus the fact that Hubers readily reported the murder to police.
"There can be no doubt that Shayna Hubers absolutely admitted what she did, explained why she did it, all of the history that they had , the difficulties of their relationship and that's something I think you need to take into account," Mejia said.
A formal sentencing date has been set for June 9. After that, Hubers will be transferred to the Kentucky Correctional Institute for Women in Peewee Valley.
During Friday's sentencing hearing the jury heard emotional testimony from Poston's sister, Katie Carter, who talked about the loss to her family.
"Your big brother is never going to be there, he's not going to be there. He's not going to be there for any holiday any birth any wedding, but it's not only about me and my family and the people standing there sitting right there. He'll never be able to have those things. He will never be able to get married, he'll never be able to have kids, he'll never be able to go to his kids' baseball games," Carter said.
Following the verdict prosecutor Michelle Snodgrass spoke to reporters while surrounded by Poston's family.
"I think the most important thing that we have to focus on is getting the evidence to the jury and hoping that the jury sees and understands the truth. That's what this was always about is getting out the truth and getting justice for Ryan and that's what we worked hard to do," Snodgrass said.
The victim's relatives thanked the jury in a statement released through a family spokesman early Friday.
"On October 12, 2012, Ryan Carter Poston, our loving son, brother, grandson and friend was brutally murdered and snatched from our lives. The senselessness of this action is a tragedy for all families – both Ryan's and his assailant's," the statement reads. "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," the statement said. The entire statement can be read at the bottom.
Poston was shot and killed inside his Highlands Heights condo in October 2012. Hubers was indicted for his murder two months later and has been held without bond in the county jail ever since.
During the first day of testimony in the lengthy, two-week trial that drew national attention, Hubers told the jury that she shot Poston several times in self-defense.
Hubers claimed the couple fought the night of the shooting. She told police she picked up a gun from a table and fired.
"I shot him probably six times. I shot him in the head. He fell onto the ground," she told police in a recorded interview. "He was laying like this. His glasses were still on. He was twitching some more. I shot him a couple more times just to make sure he was dead."
Jurors honed in on thousands of text messages between Hubers and Poston. Days before the shooting, Hubers told a friend she was going to a shooting range with Poston and that she wanted to shoot and kill him and make it look like an accident.
Those messages make it appear Poston tried to end the relationship several times, said Highland Heights Police Chief Bill Birkenhauer.
The entire statement from Poston's relatives:
"On October 12, 2012, Ryan Carter Poston, our loving son, brother, grandson and friend was brutally murdered and snatched from our lives. The senselessness of this action is a tragedy for all families – both Ryan's and his assailant's. 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. Twelve hardworking Americans have listened to the legal arguments, reviewed the facts, deliberated, and discerned the truth. Ryan's good name is now fully vindicated and the person responsible for this brutal act is now held accountable. We thank them for their service, insight, and leadership.
We are also eternally grateful for the unwavering and resolute efforts of the Commonwealth Attorney's office and Highland Heights Police Department. They passionately and objectively sought the truth and proved themselves as true guardians of our safety and security once again.
Lastly, we would like to thank those who have extended their thoughts and prayers to the Poston and Carter families, please know they were received graciously and gratefully and hold a value that can not possibly be measured.