Four months after Tony Shearer was fatally shot in his Middletown residence, the trial of his ex-wife, the woman accused of killing him, began Monday.
Dawn Shearer, 48, of Ellis Way, is charged with murder and felonious assault for allegedly killing Anthony “Tony” Shearer at their home on Feb. 6.
During opening statements in Butler County Common Pleas Judge Jennifer McElfresh’s courtroom, prosecutors said Tony Shearer died because of a choice Dawn Shearer made that night.
“She needs to be held accountable for her actions and the decisions she made that night,” said Jon Marshall, assistant Butler County Prosecutor.
Marshall said Dawn Shearer fired one shot hitting Tony in the head. The divorced couple, who had gotten back together, were packing up on the night of the shooting because the home’s lease was up, Marshall said. He added they didn’t know if they would stay together.
After the shooting, Dawn Shearer called 911 and said she had shot Tony, Marshall said.
“She (Dawn Shearer) said I don’t know what happened,” Marshall told the jury.
A neighbor, Anita Workman, was one of prosecution witnesses to testify, telling the jury she saw Dawn Shearer run out of the house on the night of Feb. 6 then go back in. There was no one with her. Minutes later the house was circled in crime scene tape.
Workman said she did not hear any yelling or even any gunshots.
Defense attorney Jason Phillabaum told the jury during opening statements that Dawn Shearer endured years of physical abuse by Tony.
Tony Shearer choked Dawn numerous in the four years leading up to the shooting. She divorced Tony, but went back to him because she loved him, Phillabaum said.
“Dawn Shearer was beat over and over again … Tony was violent,” Phillabaum told the jury.
Phillabaum walked outside the courtroom and brought in a door from the Ellis Way house, telling the jury Dawn Shearer hid behind it to protect herself. Another door, Phillabaum said, shows damage where Tony Shearer kicked it.
The defense attorney also had Dawn Shearer stand so that he could demonstrate how he says Tony Shearer choked her.
“She protected herself,” Phillabaum said. “Tony was on the couch, he came at her again and she got the gun first.”
Phillabaum said Dawn Shearer will testify during the trial.
The jury also heard the 911 call from Shearer placed to Middletown police.
During the call, Dawn Shearer says she and Tony Shearer were arguing and “I shot him … I shot him in the head.”
When asked by the dispatcher why she shot him, Dawn Shearer said “I don’t know why.”
Phillabaum pointed out it is not clear in the tape at times what Shearer is saying.