Crime And Law

Trial dates set for former Fort Recovery HS softball coaches charged with murder

JAY COUNTY, Indiana — Two former Fort Recovery High School softball coaches will have trials in 2021 on charges stemming from the deadly shooting of a man in January.

PREVIOUS REPORT: Court papers: Fort Recovery prep coaches killed man in child custody dispute

Former head coach Esther Stephen is scheduled to face trial on a charge of murder starting on March 15. The former assistant coach, Shelby Hiestand, who is also charged with murder, has a trial scheduled to begin August 9, according to court records.

Stephen and Hiestand are both accused in the death of Shea Briar, who died from a gunshot wound January 12. Court records indicate the shooting was motivated by a custody dispute after Briar filed for parenting time with a child he shared with Stephen.

In interviews with investigators, Hiestand and Stephen “admitted that they had conspired together to murder Shea Briar on Jan. 11-12,” according to an affidavit filed with the court.

“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 indicate.

The school board for Fort Recovery Local Schools approved the termination of the contracts of both Stephen and Hiestand on January 23. Both were previously placed on administrative leave following their initial arrests.