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Jury finds Shayna Hubers guilty of murder in death of Ryan Poston, sentencing recommendation today


By Mark Hansel
KyForward managing editor

It took a Campbell County jury less than five hours to convict Shayna Hubers of murder Tuesday in the October, 2012 killing of attorney Ryan Poston in his Highland Heights apartment.

A mugshot photo of Hubers (file photo).

The two-week trial included defense claims of physical and mental abuse, testimony about Hubers’ failure to achieve orgasm and a claim of self-defense. Ultimately, the jury came to the same conclusion that was reached by another jury, in roughly the same amount of time.

Hubers was first convicted of the murder of Poston, her on-again, off-again boyfriend in 2015 and sentenced to 40 years in prison. She was granted a new trial in 2016, when it was discovered that a juror in her first trial failed to disclose a felony conviction.

The jury could have acquitted Hubers, or convicted her of a lesser charge, including reckless homicide first-degree manslaughter, or second-degree manslaughter, but unanimously settled on the most serious charge – murder.

Campbell Circuit Judge Daniel Zalla began the day’s proceedings by providing the jury with some general instructions.

After a brief delay to discuss some of the wording in the jury instructions, closing arguments began shortly after 10 a.m.

Defense attorney David Eldridge said Hubers’ relationship with Poston was not what it seemed.

“They were a perfect-looking couple on the outside, but were deeply flawed on the inside,” Eldridge said. “Their deeply troubled relationship came to a tragic end.”

Poston (file photo)

Eldridge portrayed Poston as a manipulator, saying he treated Hubers like a yo-yo.

“He would push her away and then bring her back, Eldridge said. “He wanted her for sex.”

Eldridge told jurors Hubers shot Poston in self-defense after he began throwing her around the room in his condominium.

He said Hubers saw Poston moving his arm toward a gun on a table but she grabbed it first and started shooting to protect herself.

In her two-hour closing statement, Campbell Commonwealth Attorney Michelle Snodgrass painted a much different picture, saying Hubers killed Poston because he was going to break up with her.

Snodgrass relied on witness testimony and some of Hubers’ own statements to show she planned to kill Poston.

During the closing argument, she replayed part of a video that shows Hubers dancing in a police interrogation room, shortly after the shooting.

“I did it, yes, I did it,” Hubers said. “I can’t believe I did that.”

Earlier in the trial, Hubers, who shot Poston six times, including twice in the head, was heard telling police on the video, “He talked about getting a nose job and I shot him right here,” pointing at her nose. “I gave him his nose job.”

She also told police when she saw Poston twitching, she knew he was dying, so she shot him again to put him out of his misery.

Campbell Commonwealth Attorney Michelle Snodgrass (center) speaks with members of the Poston family as they await a jury verdict Tuesday (photo by Mark Hansel).

Near the end of her closing argument, Snodgrass and a member of the prosecution team provided a dramatic reenactment of the shooting.

While acknowledging there was no way to know the exact sequence of the six shots, Snodgrass picked up the gun and fired at the man portraying Poston as he was seated in a chair. As she moved closer to him and continued to fire, the man slumped from the chair onto the courtroom floor as Snodgrass stood over him and simulated the final shot to his head.

It was one of the last things the jury saw before it was excused to begin deliberations.

As the jury filed back into the courtroom, none of them looked at Hubers, which is often a sign of a guilty verdict.

At that point, Hubers put her head down and began to sob, perhaps realizing her fate.

After the verdict was read, the jury was polled and all 12 members confirmed the finding of guilty of murder.

The jury was excused for the night but will return today to deliberate on a sentencing recommendation.

Snodgrass declined to comment after the verdict, saying the trial was still in progress, but said she would weigh in after deliberation is complete.

The Poston family released the following statement Tuesday night.

“Today we embrace justice, and yet we do not feel joy. It has been six long and heartbreaking years without our beloved Ryan.

“The Poston and Carter families are eternally grateful for the hard work and dedication to justice of Campbell County Commonwealth Attorney Michelle Snodgrass, Assistant Campbell County Commonwealth Attorneys Sheryl Heeters and Kyle Burns, Police Chief Bill Birkenhauer, Officer Dave Fornash and Sergeant Nick Love of the Highland Heights Police Department, and their staffs — all of whom are dedicated public servants in the truest sense.

“Those who love Ryan now move forward with the integrity, dignity, and kindness that Ryan exemplified throughout his life.”

The jury is expected to begin deliberation on the penalty phase, which will lead to a sentencing recommendation, at 9 a.m.

This is not a death penalty case, so sentencing could range from 20 to 50 years, or life in prison.

Contact Mark Hansel at mark.hansel@nkytrib.com


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