ShareThis Page
DA: No charges for wife in gunfire in Indiana County |

DA: No charges for wife in gunfire in Indiana County

| Tuesday, June 5, 2012 12:03 a.m

Jessica Fairman saw her father lying on the kitchen floor of her Indiana County home, bleeding from a fatal gunshot wound in the neck.

As her estranged husband smashed a window to enter her home in North Mahoning early Sunday, police said, she grabbed a revolver from another room as her mother and two young children hid in the attic.

“She heard (Shaun C. Fairman) breaking the glass and coming through the window,” Lt. Bernard Petrovsky of the state police barracks at Punxsutawney said on Monday. “She could hear him walking with the heavy footsteps, and she could hear him coming up the steps.”

When Shaun Fairman, 32, of Washington Township stepped into a second-floor bedroom, Jessica Fairman pulled the trigger.

“She fired three shots, striking him twice” in the shoulder and bicep, Petrovsky said. “He fell to the ground, and she stood over top of him, holding him at bay with her .22 revolver.”

Investigators said they will not charge Jessica Fairman, pointing to the state’s Castle Doctrine, which permits the use of lethal force in a home or a public place for protection.

“She was clearly in her residence, a residence that he had been evicted from as a result of (a protection from abuse order),” District Attorney Pat Dougherty said. “Clearly she had retreated basically as far as she could go.

“If the Castle Doctrine is ever meant to apply, this is the classic example of it,” he said. “I believe she showed a tremendous amount of restraint.”

Shaun Fairman was arraigned on Sunday on charges of homicide, burglary and two counts of aggravated assault. He remains in jail without bail.

Dougherty hailed Jessica Fairman and her father, Richard Shotts, 55, as heroes. Their actions likely saved the lives of Jessica’s mother, Candice Shotts, and two of her children, ages 2 and 4, who all hid in the attic, Dougherty said. The Fairmans’ other two children, ages 7 and 6, were not at home.

“In many ways, I think Mr. Shotts is a hero,” Dougherty said. “He was there defending his daughter and grandchildren that night. I truly believe if that man wouldn’t have been there, we would have the possibility of having more victims on our hands.

“His daughter had the wherewithal to get her gun, and she disabled him,” Dougherty said.

Police said Shaun Fairman had two loaded guns when he arrived at the home. Richard Shotts attempted to calm him, but Fairman allegedly shot him through a kitchen window. Shotts died at the scene from the gunshot, according to Coroner Michael Baker.

Police said Shaun Fairman learned on Saturday that his wife had filed for divorce on May 30. Candice and Richard Shotts were staying at their daughter’s home because they feared Shaun Fairman’s reaction.

“They were there to spend the night with her,” Petrovsky said. “There was definitely some concern.”

On May 12, Jessica Fairman had filed a protection from abuse order, writing that her husband has threatened to kill her and himself. She said she believed Shaun Fairman has an alcohol problem.

“He threatened if I told my father anything, he would take care of him,” Jessica Fairman wrote. “He has guns hidden all over the house with ammo everywhere.”

A judge granted the PFA order on May 22 and outlined a custody agreement.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.