A Massachusetts police detective has been accused of killing his wife and trying to pass the death off as a suicide so he could keep his full pension—and remain with his lover.
Westfield Det. Brian Fanion, 55, is now facing first-degree murder charges in the death of his 50-year-old wife Amy J. Fanion, who died from a gunshot wound in the couple’s home in May 2018, according to a statement from the Hampden District Attorney.
Brian initially told Westfield Police detectives that he had he gone home for lunch on the afternoon of May 8, 2018, and that during his lunch break, he and his wife had argued about his retirement plans, MassLive reports.
Brian, who had been a police officer for 33 years and worked as a detective in the evidence and property room when he retired, told authorities his wife had used his service weapon to shoot herself in the head.
Assistant Hampden District Attorney Mary Sandstrom said at a bail hearing Thursday that Brian initially told investigators he'd heard a gunshot while he was in the bathroom but later revised the story saying that he had been coming out of the bathroom when he saw his wife raise the gun to her temple and fire, the news outlet reports.
But after more than a year of collecting evidence and conducting forensic and ballistic analysis, investigators determined it was implausible for Amy to have carried out the act herself, Sandstrom said.
She said a ballistics expert testified to a grand jury that the fatal shot had been fired from at least 18 inches away and noted that there were no signs of singeing in her hair or soot on her temple.
“Amy Fanion’s wound is not consistent with a suicide,” she said.
The prosecution also contends that just two months before Amy died, Brian started having an affair with another woman.
As part of their investigation, the Hampden District Attorney’s office and the Massachusetts State Police Detective Unit issued a search warrant in the case to retrieve “digital evidence” including computers, tablets and cellular devices that revealed “incriminating evidence,” according to the district attorney’s office.
In court Thursday, Sandstrom said that before Amy died, Brian had done Google searches on his cell phone and work computer that included what impact a divorce would have on a pension, gunshot residue analysis and household poisons.
“There was only one way to enjoy his retirement and his new love affair ... that was to kill his wife,” Sandstrom said in court, according to MassLive.
But Brian’s attorney, Jeffrey Brown, has disputed that account, saying that Amy had struggled with depression and anxiety for months before she died and had also kept a journal that chronicled her struggles.
“Amy Fanion was not someone without her demons,” he said, according to the news outlet. “Her diary is replete with issues she was having … seeking God’s help to get her through these issues.”
Brown also claimed that Brian was not having an affair and that Brian’s family—including the couple’s two adult children and his in-laws—don’t believe he murdered Amy.
“Not a one of them thinks that Brian Fanion has it in him to kill his wife,” Brown said.
Although Brown had argued his client should be released on a $75,000 bond, the judge in the case ordered he be held without bail.
His next scheduled court appearance is on Jan. 9, prosecutors said.
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