(3-18-21) Former Fort Recovery High School softball coach Esther Stephen (30) has been convicted of felony murder in Jay County Circuit Court, Portland, Indiana.

The trial ended quickly this afternoon after only three hours of deliberation.


The verdict found that Stephen was guilty of aiding and abetting the shooting murder of Shea Briar (31), who was also the father of Stephen’s young daughter.

Stephen is being held in the Jay County jail awaiting her sentencing, which is scheduled for 2 p.m. May 5.

Two other women charged in connection with Briar’s murder are scheduled for jury trials later this year. Shelby Hiestand, a former Fort Recovery assistant softball coach, has a trial scheduled to begin August 9th. Hannah Knapke, a former Fort Recovery High School student and softball player, has her trial scheduled to begin on November 15th.

Heistand and Knapke

Tweets after the trial from Portland (Ind) Commercial-Review reporter Chris Schanz –