Middletown woman convicted of murder in ex-husband’s death

5:39 p.m Friday, June 23, 2017 Middletown

A jury rejected a Middletown woman’s claim of self-defense and found her guilty of murder in the Feb. 6 fatal shooting of her ex-husband.

Dawn Shearer, 48, of Ellis Way, was convicted Friday of murder and felonious assault for killing Anthony “Tony” Shearer at their home. The jury deliberated just under two hours after a five-day trial.

Shearer was sentenced after the verdict to a mandatory 15 years to life in prison by Judge Jennifer McElfresh.

Defense attorney Jason Phillabaum said he plans to file an appeal.

Before sentencing, Shearer told the judge she was in shock.

“It was self-defense,” she said.

Dennis Shearer, Tony’s father, told Dawn he and his family are going to work through the tragedy.

“I am going to forgive you for what you have done,” Dennis Shearer said.

He turned to Dawn and said she “took Tony.”

“We are never going to see him again. You broke our hearts,” he said.

On Wednesday, Shearer testified, saying she shot and killed her ex-husband in self-defense because she thought he was going to grab a gun from a nearby table and “kill me.”

That shooting ended years of abuse between the couple that lived together despite being divorced one year earlier, she testified. Dawn Shearer said she moved back into the home with Tony despite the abuse because she loved him and was afraid he might harm himself because of mental illness she claimed he had.

On the day of the shooting, Dawn Shearer testified Tony choked her, as he had many times in the past, and she blacked out. She said she regained consciousness, she said she walked back into the living room.

Tony Shearer was “very irritated” when he learned she was leaving the house, Dawn Shearer said. She grabbed Tony’s gun, held it with two hands, closed her eyes and fired, she said. Then she called 911.

During cross examination by Assistant Butler County Prosecutor Jon Marshall, Dawn Shearer admitted she had never reported the abuse to police or anyone else during her 22-year relationship with Tony.

Marshall also pointed out Dawn Shearer could have left the residence through the bedroom door and called for help rather than confronting her ex-husband.

In 911 calls and during interviews with Middletown police detectives, Dawn Shearer said she didn’t know why she shot Tony.

She told dispatchers she shot him in the head. According to trial testimony, Tony Shearer died of a single gunshot to the head.

View full experience