“Evil, for reasons only evil knows, took it upon herself to take from us that which she could never possess.”
-Jay Poston, Ryan Poston's father
Ryan was a lawyer. He practiced in Cincinnati, Ohio, United States and was from Fort Mitchell, Kentucky. He was the oldest of four children and had a great relationship with his three younger sisters and his parents Lisa Carter and Jay Poston. Ryan lived alone in a condominium in Highland Heights. That evening, the evening of the 12th of October, Ryan went back to his condominium after work to get ready for his date. He had arranged to meet Audrey at 9.30pm that night at a bar but when Audrey got there, there was no sign of Ryan at the bar.
The Emergency Medical Services (EMS) received a call that night that was made from Ryan's condominium. The call was made by Ryan's ex girlfriend, twenty one year old Shayna Hubers. Shayna was a graduate Psychology student living in Lexington and had been in a relationship with Ryan, on and off, for eighteen months. Earlier that day, Ryan told colleagues that he had already ended the relationship with Shayna and planned to tell her about his date with Audrey that night.
Shayna told the dispatcher that she shot Ryan and he was dead but it was in self defense. She said that he threw her against the couch and when he reached for his gun, she “shot him a couple more times just to kill him because he was twitching and knew he was going to die anyway and he was making funny noises.”
Shayna told the dispatcher that she shot Ryan around 15 minutes before she called for help.
Shayna was charged with the first degree murder, second degree murder, manslaughter and reckless homicide of Ryan Poston.
Shayna never denied shooting Ryan but claimed that is was in self defense.
Shayna Hubers and Ryan Poston
It was the Prosecution's case that Shayna was obsessed with Ryan and shot him because he ended their relationship and wanted to date another woman. It was their case that she found out he was going on a date with another woman on the 12th of October and that was why she shot and killed him. The Court heard that they met when Ryan reached out to Shayna via Facebook in March 2011 and they dated, on and off, for eighteen months after that.
Despite Shayna saying on the call to EMS that she shot Ryan a couple more times after the initial shot, the Court heard that Ryan was shot a total of six times.
The Jury saw a video of Shayna's interview with the police shortly after she shot Ryan. The interview lasted around 3 hours. The video showed Shayna dancing around the interview room and singing Amazing Grace. She told police that Ryan was “whacked on drugs” and abusive towards her.
According to Shayna, that evening, the evening of the 12th of October, Ryan was “throwing her around the room like a rag doll.” She told police that she was thrown against the furniture , onto the floor and into the television. After Ryan allegedly physically assaulted her, Shayna then told police that he sat at the dining table. According to Shayna, he was screaming and yelling at her and told her he hated her and when he reached for his gun, she grabbed it and shot him. She described him as evil and told police that he deserved it.
Shayna told police that Ryan fell to the floor when she shot him. She said she shot him again as he was twitching and making strange noises and she knew that "he was going to die or have a completely deformed face.” Shayna told police that Ryan was vain and wanted rhinoplasty so the fact that she shot him in the face was her simply giving him "the nose job he always wanted.”
The Court heard from a Prosecution witness, Chief Bill Birkenhauer, who testified that the crime scene contradicted Shayna's version of events. Shayna told police that Ryan threw her into the television but Bill testified that the television was in place. Furthermore, it had dust on it which indicated it had not even been touched. Shayna also said that when Ryan was sitting at the dining table, he reached for his gun but the Court heard that the dining table was undisturbed. The Court heard there were no signs that a struggle of any sort had taken place.
The condominium itself was in disarray. Jay Poston, Ryan's father, testified in relation to that point and said he had been there a number of times and it was always in disarray and Ryan was a “bit of a slob.” The Court also heard that despite her claims of abuse, an officer who examined her at the police station did not find any injuries. There was a bit of discoloration on her shin but apart from that, there were no other markings on Shayna’s body.
The Prosecution called Ryan's neighbors, Vernon and Doris West, to testify. They lived in the condominium directly below Ryan's condominium.
Doris told the Court that on the 12th of October, she heard two shots and a further four shots around six seconds later.
When asked if she had heard any noises before the shots, she told the Court that she did not hear any screaming or yelling prior to hearing the shots. Vernon testified that he heard two shots, the sound of what he believed was a person falling, followed by four more shots. He did not hear any noises such as yelling prior to the shots.
The Prosecution called one of Shayna's friends to testify and the Court heard that eleven days before Ryan was shot, Shayna sent her friend a test message which said:
“When I go to the shooting range with Poston tonight, I want to turn around, shoot and kill him,and play like it’s an accident.”
She also told another friend that “a part of her wanted to turn around and shoot him” when they were at the shooting range. The Court heard Shayna sent her friends text messages indicating that she hated Ryan.
One of Ryan's friends testified that shortly before Ryan's death, he met up with Ryan and Ryan told him he wanted to break up with Shayna. Ryan said that he tried dropping hints and sending text messages but it did not work so he had to do it face to face. That friend believed Ryan planned to end the relationship on the 12th of October, the day he was shot dead. The Court also heard from the receptionist at the law firm where Ryan worked. She testified that two weeks before he was shot, Ryan seemed sad and she asked him what was wrong. He asked:
“How do you break up with someone that doesn’t want to break up with you?”
Ryan asked the receptionist what her opinion was of men who needed to apply for restraining orders. She said that the day Ryan was killed, he was in work earlier that day and seemed happy and he told her about his date with Miss Ohio later that night.
The Court heard that Ryan seemed afraid to tell Shayna that the relationship was over for good.
It was the Defense's case that Shayna shot Ryan but it was in self defense. It was their case that she was a victim of domestic violence. Shayna testified. The Court heard that until November 2011, Shayna and Ryan saw each other occasionally and texted frequently but after November 2011, they broke up multiple times. According to Shayna, she confronted Ryan in April 2012 to ask him why he said degrading things about her to other people. Shayna told the Court that they argued and there was an altercation which resulted in Ryan picking her up and throwing her on the doorstep of his condominium. Shayna testified that Ryan beat her body repeatedly with the door as she tried to collect her belongings and leave.
They were not in a relationship between April and July 2012. Shayna testified that they got back together in July 2012 and Ryan placed certain conditions on their relationship such as demanding her to speak less, to get a hobby and to participate in sexual acts with him and other women.
Shayna told the Court that when they were out together, he would belittle her and comment on her eating habits.
The Trial lasted nine days and the Jury deliberated for five hours. They found Shayna guilty and she was sentenced to forty years in prison.
After the guilty verdict, it emerged that a Juror was a convicted felon. In Kentucky, the State that heard the case, felons are not allowed to be seated on Juries and as such the guilty verdict was vacated and a new Trial was ordered.
The retrial took longer than the initial Trial. It lasted for sixteen days. At the retrial, the Court heard from some additional witnesses. Three women who were incarcerated with Shayna testified. Donna Dooley testified that Shayna told her that she made noise in the condominium before she shot Ryan so that it would sound like Ryan was abusing her. According to Donna, Shayna shot Ryan because he wanted to leave to go on a date.
Holly Nivens testified that Shayna initially told her that Ryan abused her but then told her that he did not and said that she shot him because he wanted to break up with her. Holly told the Court that Shayna told her that Ryan did not want a confrontation that night and locked himself inside his bedroom to try to avoid one but Shayna gained access to the bedroom by picking the lock with a bobby pin.
Cicely Miller was the third inmate to testify and she said that Shayna laughed when she spoke about Ryan’s death and told her she killed him because he asked her to leave.
All three of the inmates testified that Shayna showed no remorse at all. Additionally, Holly told the Court that when Shayna was incarcerated, she would make phone calls to family and pretend to cry on the calls yet she was winking and smiling at her fellow inmates at the same time.
Shayna testified again at the retrial. She admitted that she was possessive and controlling over the course of her relationship with Ryan and searched his phone frequently and blocked women he was friends with on Facebook. On one occasion, when he tried to end the relationship, she pretended she had a heart condition so he would not leave her. She admitted that whenever he tried to end the relationship, she would send him multiple text messages and enter his condominium uninvited. The Court heard that on the 1st of October 2012, Shayna used a friend’s cell phone to text Ryan. She pretended to be a potential client of the law firm where he worked and insulted him on the call.
But Shayna claimed that even though she was controlling and possessive, Ryan was abusive towards her. Shayna testified about the night of the 12th of October. She said that when she arrived at Ryan’s condominium he seemed angry. Shayna told the Court that he verbally abused her, called her “crazy and unstable” and when she tried to enter the bedroom to get her belongings so she could leave, he picked her up by her bra and pants and threw her into another room. She testified that Ryan fell on top of her and had her hair in his hand and was screaming at her. She told the Court that his eyes were normally blue, but that night they were completely black.
She testified that she managed to get out from under him and stood up and they continued to fight. She told the Court that she could not remember what happened next but recalled sitting near the dining table and when she tried to stand up, Ryan pushed her down. Shayna testified that Ryan grabbed his gun, pointed it at her,and told her he could get away with it. According to Shayna, Ryan put the gun down and walked away and then sat down and reached for the gun on the dining table. It was at that point that she grabbed the gun and shot him. She called her mother before calling 911.
At Shayna’s retrial, the Jury again had to decide if Shayna killed Ryan in self defense. They did not believe her version of events and found her guilty of murder. She was sentenced to life in prison, a longer prison sentence than she received at her first Trial.
Shayna married a woman in prison while awaiting her retrial and filed for divorce after she was convicted again. She remains incarcerated and can be considered for parole in 2032.
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"The criminal justice system will take a hard look at what happened to Matthew Eappen. It is up to the rest of us to take an even harder look at who is minding our children."
- Eileen McNamara, the Boston Globe
"The effects of abuse are devastating and far reaching. Domestic violence speaks many languages, has many colors and lives in many different communities."
- Sandra Pupatello
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