Softball coaches await trial for alleged baby custody homicide plot
Two former softball coaches from Fort Recovery, Ohio high school and a former athlete await trial for the alleged murder of an Indiana man in a custody battle.
Ohio high school softball coaches Esther Stephen, 29, and Shelby Hiestand, 18, will be charged with the murder of Shea Briar, 31, on January 12 on a street in Portland, Indiana, according to WHIO in Ohio.
Stephen’s trial is set to begin on March 15, while Hiestand’s murder trial is set to begin in August.
Briar had shared a child with Stephen.
Stephen and Hiestand are both charged with the death of Shea Briar, who died from a gunshot wound on Jan. 12. Court records show the shooting was motivated by a custody battle after Briar applied for parental leave with a child he shared with Stephen.
Trial dates set for former Fort Recovery HS softball coach for murder
According to interviews with Indiana Police, the alleged custody softball coaches fueled murder, “admitting they teamed up to murder Shea Briar on Jan. 11 and 12,” as reported earlier court documents filed by WHIO.
“Esther Jane Stephen was mad at Shea Briar because [he] had recently started legal proceedings to determine parental leave rights for her minor child and requested the court to change the child’s last name, ”the court records read.
The Muncie Star Press reported that Stephen is accused of luring Briar into the area where he was shot.
Hiestand is accused of firing the rifle and killing Briar by shooting him in the back.
She is accused of luring him to the area where he was later found, where he was allegedly shot in the back with a rifle fired by Hiestand.
Trial for two women charged with the murder of a Portland man
According to authorities, a third woman was present alongside the softball coaches for the alleged custody murder.
The third woman, 19-year-old Hannah Knapke, has also been charged and is due to be tried next summer, The Star Press reported.
Knapke allegedly drove Stephen and Hiestand to the scene and was present during the shooting, NBC subsidiary KWWL previously reported.
Her school at the time of the shooting, Marshalltown Community College, said she was removed from the volleyball team and de-registered after she was arrested.
“We can confirm that Ms. Knapke has been dismissed from participating in sports and is no longer enrolled in college. We currently have no further comments. “
Marshalltown volleyball player charged with Indiana murder
According to local reports, all three women appeared to have met through the Stephen-trained Fort Recovery High School softball team and were taken into custody in the alleged attempted murder, WPTA reported in Fort Wayne.
Online rosters show Knapke playing softball for Fort Recovery High School in 2019 while Stephen was the team’s head coach.
It was not immediately clear whether Stephen, Knapke, or Hiestand had lawyers available to answer the charges.
All three women are currently being detained in Jay County Prison without any bonds.
A possible affidavit indicates that Knapke was with the other two women when the shooting took place.
Third arrest for the murder of Jay County man