Jury wasn’t convinced Brittany Shears meant to kill the father of her son, but she was convicted of aggravated battery and neglect of a dependent.
FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — When the bat hit the victim’s head, witnesses reported the attack made a “bink” sound that could be heard all across the parking lot at River Cove apartments.
The attack on July 17, 2022, at 1:30 in the morning, led to prosecutors charging Brittany Shears, 28, with attempted murder, a Level 1 felony with a sentence that ranges from 45 to 65 years, Level 3 aggravated battery and Level 6 neglect.
A probable cause affidavit written by homicide detective Aaron Johnson said the victim now walks with a cane or walker and must wear protective head gear when mobile.
But Thursday, an Allen County jury rejected the attempted murder charge, sparing Shears years of incarceration in an Indiana prison.
If she was the one to sob quietly and anxiously before the verdict, it was myriad supporters in Allen Superior Court Judge David Zent’s courtroom that cried with relief when they heard the words “not guilty.”
Shears is scheduled to be sentenced May 26 at 1 p.m.
Shears’ defense attorney, Robert Scremin, said he was pleased with the verdict of not guilty on the attempted murder charge.
“We felt all along that the evidence just didn’t support it, the attempted murder. We were disappointed that the jury didn’t see that this was an issue of self-defense that we believed it was,” Scremin said.
Self-defense was used because one of the people in the incident used a broom and there other actions that made the defense seek that claim, he said.
Tasha Lee, deputy prosecutor, didn’t go home empty-handed.
“We feel extremely proud of the work we put into this case,” Lee said surrounded by Rachel Gschwend, a deputy prosecutor, and Johnson. “We are disappointed that we did not get the attempted murder charge, but we still got justice for our victim, and that’s what’s important.
“We work very hard on these cases, and we’re always proud when we’re able to get justice for a victim. The message would be even for those victims who are not yet ready, we’re still here for you and we are willing to fight for you to make sure they get justice and no one gets hurt,” Lee said after the verdict.
Shears, who has been out on a $50,000 bond, walked into court wearing a bright pink pantsuit and fashionable eye glasses. When she left, court deputies put handcuffs on her to take her to the Allen County Jail.