(11-16-21) In a 3-0 ruling issued Friday, the Indiana Court of Appeals upheld the murder conviction of Esther Jane Stephen of Portland who arranged for the killing of her young daughter’s father.

A Jay Circuit Court jury in March found Esther Jane Stephen (31) guilty in the January 2020 slaying of Shea Michael Briar.

Judge Brian Hutchison in May sentenced Stephen to 55 years in prison, the standard penalty for a murder conviction in Indiana.

In her appeal, Stephen’s legal counsel argued that evidence in her case did not justify her conviction, and also contended that she deserved a shorter sentence.