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Friday, October 19, 2018

Hubers Jury Sees Life Sentence Carried Through Until the End

Shayna Hubers Sentenced to Life In Prison for Ryan Poston’s Murder in 2012

By Jessie Stringfield-Eden

Commonwealth Attorney Michelle Snodgrass said it was the first time in her career that a jury had asked to be present to hear the final sentence handed down by the judge after giving their recommendation.

"They were so invested in seeing this through. They gave parts of their lives to this trial and wanted to see their recommendation carried out," said Snodgrass. "This group of men and women from Campbell County should be commended for their thoughtfulness and service to the county because it truly affected all of Campbell County."

After two trials and an afternoon of sentencing consisting of several twists, turns and recesses, Campbell County Judge Dan Zalla sentenced 27 year old Shayna Hubers to life in prison for the murder of Highland Heights resident Ryan Poston.

Poston, an attorney in Fort Mitchell, was killed in his Highland Heights condo on Oct. 12, 2012 by Hubers, his former girlfriend. After coming to Poston’s home against his wishes, the two argued and she shot Poston six times. She turned herself into police afterwards. After the first trial in Apr. 2015 was overturned due to a member of the jury being a convicted felon, a second trial was conducted on Aug. 8, 2018 where Hubers was found guilty.

RELATED: Jay Poston, Michelle Snodgrass Give Their Story on Ryan Poston's Legacy (Podcast)

Today, Hubers walked into the courtroom to receive her sentencing as if she was walking into a casual situation. She smiled and even laughed as she chatted with her defense team and gazed around the room several times. Hubers seemed relaxed as she fussed with her long brown hair and looked at her nails as if she was thinking about getting a manicure. At one point, she seemed to absentmindedly turn from left to right in her office chair as if she was a bored teenager in math class.

Hubers may have been physically present...but her focus was elsewhere and several observers in the room commented on her lack of remorse for the brutal murder of Poston.

For everyone else, there is no question that this case, spanning six long years, has deeply affected Poston’s family, friends and the entire community. Michelle Snodgrass, the prosecuting attorney for the Commonwealth, elaborated on the difficulties of the case and the jury.

“It’s tough when the victim was a neighbor or a friend. He was a part of this community. Many people knew him and respected him,” said Snodgrass. “It’s very clear that the jurors were invested. They wanted to see that justice had been served.” 

Snodgrass then expressed her sincere thanks to the jury. “This has a huge impact on the jury. They were exposed to things that people are not usually exposed to and we’re grateful for their hard work.”

There were six of the 12 jury members in attendance to see their recommended sentence be carried through.

One of the jurors present, who wished to remain anonymous, stated that this sentence provides much need closure for all of the jurors.

“We spent three weeks of our life and it is hard not being able to talk to anyone about the process or the situation, materials, pictures or testimonies. Once the day is over, you just go home. After the trial we all met, which was very emotional and therapeutic,” said the juror. “October 12th is forever embedded in our heads. We still play everything over and over again in our minds.”

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Throughout the sentencing, Hubers’ Defense team, led by Knoxville-based attorney David Eldridge, submitted several motions at the beginning and requested a new trial. After hearing both sides, Judge Zalla denied the defense’s requests.

The Prosecution and Defense teams engaged in several back and forth statements while leading up to the sentencing. This type of activity, unusual for a sentencing hearing, resulted in two recesses and a nearly 15 minute ‘pause’ where both teams spoke in hushed tones with Judge Zalla.

Near the end, Eldridge provided a final statement on behalf of the Defense, Snodgrass spoke and then asked Poston’s father, Jay Poston, to provide a personal statement. Poston’s statement was directed towards a very stoic-looking Hubers, her family and the Defense team.

He then thanked Snodgrass, the Highland Heights Police Department and the jury in his heartfelt statement, fully recognizing the burden of justice placed upon the jurors shoulders in this trial process.

“I know each of you will forever carry Ryan in your thoughts, in your hearts and possibly in your nightmares. For that, we are sorry. For that, we will forever carry each of you in our thoughts, in our hearts and in our prayers.”

Poston’s words were joined by many tears and the soft sound of crying from those who cared most about Ryan. Poston’s words did not seem to affect Hubers.

Judge Zalla called a short recess then returned to announce Hubers’ sentence. It was only as Judge Zalla sentenced Hubers to life in prison did she actually hang her head and cry.

Photo: Commonwealth Attorney, Michelle Snodgrass, flanked by Assistant Prosecutor, Kyle Burns, and the Carter and Poston families. 

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