Ohio Softball Coach Allegedly Conspired with Assistant to Kill Child's Dad Over Custody Dispute

Ohio Softball Coach Allegedly Conspired with Assistant to Kill Child's Dad Over Custody Dispute

December 31, 2020

A former softball coach from Ohio is facing trial in 2021 on charges that she and the assistant coach conspired to kill her child's father earlier this year.

According to local news station WHIO, Fort Recovery High School ex-head softball coach Esther Stephen, 29, and assistant coach Shelby Hiestand, 18, have been accused of killing Shea Briar, 31, who died from a gunshot wound on January 12 in Portland, Indiana.

Stephen's murder trial is set to begin on March 15, while Hiestand’s trial is set to begin on August 9, WHIO reported.

Court records obtained by the outlet reportedly allege that the fatal shooting of Briar — who shared a child with Stephen — was motivated by a custody dispute after Briar filed for parenting time with a child.

During interviews with investigators, Hiestand and Stephen allegedly "admitted that they had conspired together to murder" Briar, WHIO reported.

According to The Muncie Star Press, Stephen allegedly lured Briar to an area on Jay County Road 125-W, near County Road 850-N, where Hiestand allegedly shot him in the back with a rifle.

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Briar was transported by ambulance to Adams Memorial Hospital in Decatur, and later to Lutheran Hospital in Fort Wayne, where he died, the outlet reported.

"Esther Jane Stephen was angry with Shea Briar because [he] had recently initiated court proceedings to establish parenting time rights for their minor child and petitioned the court to change the child’s last name,” court records obtained by WHIO reportedly stated.

Hiestand and Stephen were terminated by the Fort Recovery Local Schools school board on Jan. 23, WHIO reports, after being placed on administrative leave following their initial arrests.

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